Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology

Novel Hg2+-induced nephropathy in rats and mice lacking Mrp2: evidence of axial heterogeneity in the handling of Hg2+ along the proximal tubule.

PMID 25145654


The role of the multi-resistance protein 2 (Mrp2) in the nephropathy induced by inorganic mercuric mercury (Hg(2+)) was studied in rats (TR(-)) and mice (Mrp2(-/-)), which lack functional Mrp2, and control animals. Animals were exposed to nephrotoxic doses of HgCl2. Forty-eight or 24 hours after exposure, tissues were harvested and analyzed for Hg content and markers of injury. Histological analyses revealed that the proximal tubular segments affected pathologically by Hg(2+) were significantly different between Mrp2-deficient animals and controls. In the absence of Mrp2, cellular injury localized almost exclusively in proximal tubular segments in the subcapsular (S1) to midcortical regions (early S2) of the kidney. In control animals, cellular death occurred mainly in the proximal tubular segments in the inner cortex (late S2) and outer stripe of the outer medulla (S3). These differences in renal pathology indicate that axial heterogeneity exists along the proximal tubule with respect to how mercuric ions are handled. Total renal and hepatic accumulation of mercury was also greater in animals lacking Mrp2 than in controls, indicating that Mrp2 normally plays a significant role in eliminating mercuric ions from within proximal tubular cells and hepatocytes. Analyses of plasma creatinine, BUN, and renal expression of Kim-1 and Ngal tend to support the severity of the nephropathies detected histologically. Collectively, our findings indicate that a fraction of mercuric ions is normally secreted by Mrp2 in early portions of proximal tubules into the lumen and then is absorbed downstream in straight portions, where mercuric species typically induce toxic effects.