AQP2 as a target of lycopene protects against atrazine-induced renal ionic homeostasis disturbance†
Atrazine (ATR), a ubiquitous environmental contaminant in water and soil, causes environmental nephrosis. To reveal the toxic effect of ATR on the kidney and the potential chemical nephroprotective effect of lycopene (LYC), Kun-Ming mice of specific pathogen-free (SPF) grade were treated with LYC (5 mg kg−1) and/or ATR (50 mg kg−1 or 200 mg kg−1) for 21 days. The degree of renal injury was evaluated by measuring the ion concentration, ATPase activities and the mRNA expressions/levels of associated ATPase subunits. In addition, the expression of renal aquaporins (AQPs) was analyzed. The results showed that the renal tubular epithelial cells of ATR-exposed mice were swollen, the glomeruli were significantly atrophied, and the ion concentrations were obviously changed. The activity of Na+–K+–ATPase and the transcription of its subunits were downregulated. The activity of Ca2+–Mg2+–ATPase and the transcription of its subunits were upregulated. The expression of AQPs, especially the critical AQP2, was affected. Notably, ATR-induced nephrotoxicity was significantly improved by LYC supplementation. Therefore, LYC could protect the kidney against ATR-induced nephrotoxicity via maintaining ionic homeostasis, reversing the changes in ATPase activity and controlling the expression of AQPs on the cell membrane. These results suggested that AQP2 was a target of LYC and protected against ATR-induced renal ionic homeostasis disturbance.