A drug that’s currently available for treating a certain type of hypertension may help patients with chronic renovascular disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Chronic renovascular disease can occur when there is significant obstruction of the renal arteries, usually due to atherosclerosis. This condition can lead to progressive deterioration of kidney function, as well as heart attacks, strokes, and even death. Treatments include the use of drugs as well as renal angioplasty and stenting, an intervention to open the blocked arteries. Unfortunately, kidney function does not recover in almost 50% of the patients who receive these treatments.

Alejandro Chade, MD,  from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and his colleagues tested the potential of a drug, called an endothelin-A antagonist, that can block the effects of a powerful vasoconstrictor called endothelin. By using a pig model of chronic renovascular disease and employing high-resolution CT imaging to determine the effects of treatment, the researchers found that the endothelin-A antagonist could greatly enhance the recovery of kidney function following renal angioplasty and stenting.

“Our results support a new therapeutic use for an existing drug and a potential novel therapeutic strategy for chronic renovascular disease,” said Chade. “The findings of our study have the likelihood of translation into clinical studies, and the clinical application of this research is our ultimate goal.”

Study co-authors include Nathan Tullos, PhD, Nicholas Stewart, MS, and Bret Surles, MS.

The article, entitled “Endothelin-A Receptor Antagonism after Renal Angioplasty Enhances Renal Recovery in Renovascular Disease,” appears online at http://jasn.asnjournals.org/ .