We investigated the protective effect of telmisartan, an angiotensin II receptor antagonist, against ischemia/reperfusion renal injury in rats. Bilateral ischemia was induced by clamping both renal vascular pedicles for 45 min followed by reperfusion for 3 h. Untreated rats exposed to ischemia/reperfusion showed significant elevations in blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine levels, renal tissue levels of malondialdehyde, tumor necrosis factor-α and nitric oxide, and caspase-3 activity. This was associated with significant decreases in renal reduced glutathione level, catalase and superoxide dismutase activities. Also, significant increases in serum and renal tissue levels of homocysteine were detected following ischemia/reperfusion. Pre-ischemic treatment with telmisartan (0.3 mg/kg/day, i.p.) for 7 consecutive days significantly attenuated the increases in blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, renal malondialdehyde, tumor necrosis factor-α, nitric oxide, caspase-3 activity, and serum and renal homocysteine levels, and significantly restored the renal antioxidant defenses. In addition, light and electron microscopic examinations revealed that telmisartan pre-treatment markedly ameliorated ischemia/reperfusion-induced renal tissue damage. It was concluded that telmisartan, through its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiapoptotic effects, can be considered a potential candidate to protect against acute ischemia/reperfusion renal injury.

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