Hemoglobin- and myoglobin-induced acute renal failure in rats: role of iron in nephrotoxicity

M. S. Paller

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326 Scopus citations


In ischemic acute renal failure oxygen free radicals may mediate injury. In addition, iron appears to play a critical role in hydroxyl radical formation and lipid peroxidation during reperfusion of ischemic kidneys. To determine whether iron may play a similar role in pigment (heme protein)-induced acute renal failure, we studied the effects of the iron chelator deferoxamine in two experimental models of pigment-induced acute renal failure, intramuscular glycerol injection and intravenous hemoglobin infusion without and with concurrent ischemia in the rat. Intramuscular injection of 50% glycerol (5 ml/kg) caused inulin clearance to fall to 0.13 ± 0.03 (SE) ml/min (normal value, 1.0-1.2 ml/min). Continuous infusion of deferoxamine beginning at the time of glycerol injection significantly attenuated this renal dysfunction. Deferoxamine-treated animals had an inulin clearance of 0.37 ± 0.06 ml/min (P < 0.01). Glycerol injection was also associated with significant lipid peroxidation, measured as renal malondialdehyde content. Deferoxamine-treated glycerol-injected rats had renal malondialdehyde content not significantly different from control animals. In another model of heme pigment-induced renal injury, hemoglobin was infused to produce hemoglobinuria. Inulin clearance 1 h after hemoglobin infusion was significantly reduced to 0.84 ± 0.5 ml/min (P < 0.025). Infusion of deferoxamine after hemoglobin prevented the hemoglobin-induced decrease in inulin clearance. Thirty minutes of renal ischemia followed by infusion of hemoglobin resulted in more severe renal dysfunction with inulin clearance of 0.54 ± 0.08 ml/min. Deferoxamine infused at the time of reperfusion attenuated the fall in glomerular filtration rate after ischemia and hemoglobin infusion:inulin clearance 1.04 ± 0.06 (P < 0.005). These studies suggest that after glycerol injection or hemoglobin infusion iron is released from hemoglobin (and myoglobin) and promotes free radical formation, lipid peroxidation, and renal dysfunction. Deferoxamine prevents renal injury by binding free iron and rendering it nontoxic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F539-F544
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology
Issue number3 (24/3)
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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