The effect of alloxan, and alloxan‐induced diabetes on the kidney

Andrew P. Evan, Stephen A. Mong, Bret A. Connors, George R. Aronoff, Friedrich C. Luft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Alloxan is known to induce diabetic renal changes as well as causing nephrotoxic alterations. However, no ultrastructural study has been performed to differentiate diabetic verses toxic affects of alloxan to the tubule and/or glomerulus. Therefore the present study used the 'protected' kidney model to prevent one kidney from being exposed to the alloxan while allowing the other to receive the drug immediately. In all experimental animals the right renal hilum was gently occluded for 5 minutes and then released. This was performed prior to the injection of alloxan. Subsequently, the left renal hilum was occluded at the time of, and for 5 minutes after, alloxan administration (40 mg/kg i.v.). The experimental rats were divided into three groups: untreated diabetics, diabetics treated with protamine-zinc insulin, and alloxan-treated rats that failed to become diabetic. Three groups of controls were included: one group received an equal volume of saline diluent as the experimental rats but no clamping of either renal hilum; another group received the saline and had the left renal hilum occluded for 5 minutes; and a third group had both the right and left renal hila occluded. All animals were followed and sacrificed after 9 weeks. Endogenous creatinine clearance did not change among groups. Alloxan-treated nondiabetic rats displayed marked interstitial nephritis in unprotected kidneys, while protected kidneys were normal. The diabetic state resulted in mesangial proliferation and focal glomerular basement membrane thickening as well as glomerular capillary endothelial abnormalities and visceral epithelial foot-process fusion. The endothelial changes consisted of focal areas showing a reduction in the size of endothelial fenestrae. All glomerular changes were ameliorated by insulin treatment. We conclude: 1) alloxan per se is distinctly nephrotoxic; and 2) the glomerular endothelium and epithelium are involved early in the course of experimental diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-47
Number of pages15
JournalThe Anatomical Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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