Fluoride Action Network


Because of their nephrotoxicity and presence in the environment, uranium (U) and fluoride (F) represent risks to the global population. There is a general lack of knowledge regarding the mechanisms of U and F nephrotoxicity and the underlying molecular pathways. The present study aims to compare the threshold of the appearance of renal impairment and to study apoptosis and inflammation as mechanisms of nephrotoxicity. C57BL/6J male mice were intraperitoneally treated with a single dose of U (0, 2, 4 and 5 mg/kg) or F (0, 2, 5, 7.5 and 10 mg/kg) and euthanized 72 h after. Renal phenotypic characteristics and biological mechanisms were evaluated by urine biochemistry, gene/protein expression, enzyme activity, and (immuno)histological analyses. U and F exposures induced nephrotoxicity in a dose-dependent manner, and the highest concentrations induced severe histopathological alterations as well as increased gene expression and urinary excretion of nephrotoxicity biomarkers. KIM-1 gene expression was induced starting at 2 mg/kg U and 7.5 mg/kg F, and this increase in expression was confirmed through in situ detection of this biomarker of nephrotoxicity. Both treatments induced inflammation as evidenced by cell adhesion molecule expression and in situ levels, whereas caspase 3/7-dependent apoptosis was increased only after U treatment. Overall, a single dose of F or U induced histopathologic evidence of nephrotoxicity renal impairment and inflammation in mice with thresholds under 7.5 mg/kg and 4 mg/kg, respectively.