Background/Aims: Rapamycin inhibits cyst growth in polycystic kidney disease by targeting the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). To determine if this is a class effect of the mTOR inhibitors, we examined the effect of everolimus, the analogue of rapamycin, on disease progression in the Han:SPRD rat model of polycystic kidney disease. Methods: Four-week-old male heterozygous cystic (Cy/+) and wild-type normal (+/+) Han:SPRD rats were administered everolimus or vehicle (3 mg/kg/day) by gavage for 5 weeks. Kidney function and whole-blood trough levels of everolimus were monitored. After treatment kidney weight and cyst volume density were assessed. Tubule epithelial cell proliferation was assessed by BrdU staining. Results: Everolimus trough levels between 5 and 7 µg/l were sufficient to significantly reduce kidney and cyst volume density by approximately 50 and 40%, respectively. The steady decrease of kidney function in Cy/+ rats was reduced by 30% compared with vehicle-treated Cy/+ rats. Everolimus treatment markedly reduced the number of 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine-labeled nuclei in cyst epithelia. Body weight gain and kidney function were impaired in everolimus-treated wild-type rats. Conclusion: Moderate dosage of everolimus inhibits cystogenesis in Han:SPRD rats. The inhibitory effect of everolimus appears to represent a class effect of mTOR inhibitors.

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