Fluoride Action Network


The contamination of ground water by fluoride has been reported worldwide. Most fluoride (approximately 70%) is filtered by the kidneys; humans or experimental animals with renal damage therefore may be more affected by fluoride exposure than those with normal kidney function. Tubulointerstitial fibrosis, which involves macrophage-promoted extracellular matrix production and myofibroblast migration, can be induced in rats by unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). We examined the effects of fluoride exposure on tubulointerstitial fibrosis in the obstructed kidney of UUO rats. The left ureters of 6-week-old male rats were ligated using silk sutures. Fluoride was then administered for 2 weeks at doses of 0, 75, and 150 ppm in the drinking water. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed to analyze transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-?1) transcription; histological and immunohistochemical staining were used to identify positive areas within the renal cortex and staining-positive cells by image analysis. Significant increases were observed in the obstructed kidneys of UUO rats exposed to 150 ppm fluoride (compared to 0 ppm) for areas or number of cells that stained with Masson trichrome or with antibodies against collagen type I, alpha-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA, a myofibroblast marker), ED1, ED2, and ED3 (macrophage markers), and TGF-?1. Taken together, these observations suggested that fluoride exacerbates tuburointerstitial nephropathy resulting from UUO, and that this effect occurs via activation of the M2 macrophage-TGF-?1-fibroblast/myofibroblast-collagen synthesis pathway.


HE, hematoxylin-eosin
SOC, sham-operated control
UUO, unilateral ureteral obstruction
NOK, contralateral non-obstructed kidney
OK, obstructed kidney
PAS, periodic acid-Schiff
ANOVA, analysis of variance
ppm, parts per million
TGF-?1, transforming growth factor beta 1