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      Impact of Hydroxychloroquine on Atherosclerosis and Vascular Stiffness in the Presence of Chronic Kidney Disease

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          Cardiovascular disease is the largest cause of morbidity and mortality among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease, with nearly half of all deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), an anti-inflammatory drug, has been shown to have multiple pleiotropic actions relevant to atherosclerosis. We conducted a proof-of-efficacy study to evaluate the effects of hydroxychloroquine in an animal model of atherosclerosis in ApoE knockout mice with and without chronic kidney disease. Forty male, 6-week-old mice were divided into four groups in a 2 x 2 design: sham placebo group; sham treatment group; CKD placebo group; and CKD treatment group. CKD was induced by a two-step surgical procedure. All mice received a high-fat diet through the study duration and were sacrificed after 16 weeks of therapy. Mice were monitored with ante-mortem ultrasonic echography (AUE) for atherosclerosis and vascular stiffness and with post-mortem histology studies for atherosclerosis. Therapy with HCQ significantly reduced the severity of atherosclerosis in CKD mice and sham treated mice. HCQ reduced the area of aortic atherosclerosis on en face examination by approximately 60% in HCQ treated groups compared to the non-treated groups. Additionally, therapy with HCQ resulted in significant reduction in vascular endothelial dysfunction with improvement in vascular elasticity and flow patterns and better-preserved vascular wall thickness across multiple vascular beds. More importantly, we found that presence of CKD had no mitigating effect on HCQ’s anti-atherosclerotic and vasculoprotective effects. These beneficial effects were not due to any significant effect of HCQ on inflammation, renal function, or lipid profile at the end of 16 weeks of therapy. This study, which demonstrates structural and functional protection against atherosclerosis by HCQ, provides a rationale to evaluate its use in CKD patients. Further studies are needed to define the exact mechanisms through which HCQ confers these benefits.

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          Most cited references 28

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          A trial of darbepoetin alfa in type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

          Anemia is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and renal events among patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Although darbepoetin alfa can effectively increase hemoglobin levels, its effect on clinical outcomes in these patients has not been adequately tested. In this study involving 4038 patients with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and anemia, we randomly assigned 2012 patients to darbepoetin alfa to achieve a hemoglobin level of approximately 13 g per deciliter and 2026 patients to placebo, with rescue darbepoetin alfa when the hemoglobin level was less than 9.0 g per deciliter. The primary end points were the composite outcomes of death or a cardiovascular event (nonfatal myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, stroke, or hospitalization for myocardial ischemia) and of death or end-stage renal disease. Death or a cardiovascular event occurred in 632 patients assigned to darbepoetin alfa and 602 patients assigned to placebo (hazard ratio for darbepoetin alfa vs. placebo, 1.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.94 to 1.17; P=0.41). Death or end-stage renal disease occurred in 652 patients assigned to darbepoetin alfa and 618 patients assigned to placebo (hazard ratio, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.95 to 1.19; P=0.29). Fatal or nonfatal stroke occurred in 101 patients assigned to darbepoetin alfa and 53 patients assigned to placebo (hazard ratio, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.38 to 2.68; P<0.001). Red-cell transfusions were administered to 297 patients assigned to darbepoetin alfa and 496 patients assigned to placebo (P<0.001). There was only a modest improvement in patient-reported fatigue in the darbepoetin alfa group as compared with the placebo group. The use of darbepoetin alfa in patients with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and moderate anemia who were not undergoing dialysis did not reduce the risk of either of the two primary composite outcomes (either death or a cardiovascular event or death or a renal event) and was associated with an increased risk of stroke. For many persons involved in clinical decision making, this risk will outweigh the potential benefits. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00093015.) 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Rosuvastatin and cardiovascular events in patients undergoing hemodialysis.

            Statins reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events in patients at high cardiovascular risk. However, a benefit of statins in such patients who are undergoing hemodialysis has not been proved. We conducted an international, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, prospective trial involving 2776 patients, 50 to 80 years of age, who were undergoing maintenance hemodialysis. We randomly assigned patients to receive rosuvastatin, 10 mg daily, or placebo. The combined primary end point was death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke. Secondary end points included death from all causes and individual cardiac and vascular events. After 3 months, the mean reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels was 43% in patients receiving rosuvastatin, from a mean baseline level of 100 mg per deciliter (2.6 mmol per liter). During a median follow-up period of 3.8 years, 396 patients in the rosuvastatin group and 408 patients in the placebo group reached the primary end point (9.2 and 9.5 events per 100 patient-years, respectively; hazard ratio for the combined end point in the rosuvastatin group vs. the placebo group, 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 1.11; P=0.59). Rosuvastatin had no effect on individual components of the primary end point. There was also no significant effect on all-cause mortality (13.5 vs. 14.0 events per 100 patient-years; hazard ratio, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.86 to 1.07; P=0.51). In patients undergoing hemodialysis, the initiation of treatment with rosuvastatin lowered the LDL cholesterol level but had no significant effect on the composite primary end point of death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00240331.) 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              Chronic kidney disease: effects on the cardiovascular system.

              Accelerated cardiovascular disease is a frequent complication of renal disease. Chronic kidney disease promotes hypertension and dyslipidemia, which in turn can contribute to the progression of renal failure. Furthermore, diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of renal failure in developed countries. Together, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes are major risk factors for the development of endothelial dysfunction and progression of atherosclerosis. Inflammatory mediators are often elevated and the renin-angiotensin system is frequently activated in chronic kidney disease, which likely contributes through enhanced production of reactive oxygen species to the accelerated atherosclerosis observed in chronic kidney disease. Promoters of calcification are increased and inhibitors of calcification are reduced, which favors metastatic vascular calcification, an important participant in vascular injury associated with end-stage renal disease. Accelerated atherosclerosis will then lead to increased prevalence of coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease. Consequently, subjects with chronic renal failure are exposed to increased morbidity and mortality as a result of cardiovascular events. Prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease are major considerations in the management of individuals with chronic kidney disease.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                28 September 2015
                : 10
                : 9
                [1 ]North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Healthcare System, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America
                [2 ]University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America
                [3 ]Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, Little Rock, Arkansas, United States of America
                [4 ]University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, United States of America
                University of Louisville, UNITED STATES
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: AMS SVS GPK EOA CMB. Performed the experiments: AMS CMB SVS OKK EOA. Analyzed the data: AMS CMB SVS OKK TF. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: AMS CMB SVS. Wrote the paper: AMS SVS CMB MSS.


                This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 2, Pages: 14
                This work was supported by South Central Veterans Administration Healthcare Network pilot project grant (VISN-16); and Gatorade research fund, University of Florida, DoM.
                Research Article
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