Gene Expression Analysis Reveals New Possible Mechanism of Vancomycin-Induced Nephrotoxicity and Identifies Gene Markers Candidates


Christine Dieterich, Angela Puey, Sylvia Lyn, Robert Swezey, Anna Furimsky, David Fairchild, Jon C. Mirsalis, Hanna H. Ng, Gene Expression Analysis Reveals New Possible Mechanisms of Vancomycin-Induced Nephrotoxicity and Identifies Gene Markers Candidates, Toxicological Sciences, Volume 107, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 258–269,


Vancomycin, one of few effective treatments against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is nephrotoxic. The goals of this study were to (1) gain insights into molecular mechanisms of nephrotoxicity at the genomic level, (2) evaluate gene markers of vancomycin-induced kidney injury, and (3) compare gene expression responses after iv and ip administration. Groups of six female BALB/c mice were treated with seven daily iv or ip doses of vancomycin (50, 200, and 400 mg/kg) or saline, and sacrificed on day 8. Clinical chemistry and histopathology demonstrated kidney injury at 400 mg/kg only. Hierarchical clustering analysis revealed that kidney gene expression profiles of all mice treated at 400 mg/kg clustered with those of mice administered 200 mg/kg iv. Transcriptional profiling might thus be more sensitive than current clinical markers for detecting kidney damage, though the profiles can differ with the route of administration. Analysis of transcripts whose expression was changed by at least twofold compared with vehicle saline after high iv and ip doses of vancomycin suggested the possibility of oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage in vancomycin-induced toxicity. In addition, our data showed changes in expression of several transcripts from the complement and inflammatory pathways. Such expression changes were confirmed by relative real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction. Finally, our results further substantiate the use of gene markers of kidney toxicity such as KIM-1/Havcr1, as indicators of renal injury.

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