The anticancer drug adriamycin (ADR) is selectively toxic to glomerular cells when administered intravenously (5 mg/kg b.w.) to female MWF/Ztm rats. Recent data have shown that the proteinuria associated with the lesion does not occur in cortical glomeruli, suggesting the selective injury of juxtamedullary glomeruli. In the present study, the effect of ADR on glomerular metabolism was studied with special reference to possible differences between cortical and juxtamedullary glomeruli. On day 7 after ADR treatment, cortical and juxtamedullary glomeruli were separately isolated by the sieving method and 14C glucose oxidation to 14C02 and the incorporation of 3H proline into macromolecules were measured in vitro and used to study target selective injury in ADR-treated rats compared to control rats. The investigations revealed differences in the response of cortical and juxtamedullary glomeruli to ADR. ADR treatment increased proline incorporation over a 4-hour incubation period in both glomerular populations compared to controls, but the effect was significantly (p < 0.05) more pronounced in juxtamedullary glomeruli (juxtamedullary: 187 ± 8% of control; cortical: 167 ± 4% of control). Glucose oxidation was enhanced after 4 h only in juxtamedullary glomeruli (juxtamedullary: 132 ± 3% of control; cortical: 82 ± 10% of control). These data show that glomerular damage caused by ADR is associated with a stimulating effect on glomerular metabolism which is more marked in juxtamedullary than in cortical glomeruli, thus indicating a heterogenous response of different glomerular populations and supporting the concept that the selective damage of juxtamedullary glomeruli accounts for the proteinuria.

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