Affiliation: Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Keio University, 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan.
It has recently been reported that voltage-dependent Ca channel subtypes, e.g., L-, T-, N-, and P/Q-type, are expressed in renal arterioles and renal tubules, and the inhibition of these channels exerts various effects on renal microcirculation. For example, selective blockade of L-type Ca channels with nifedipine preferentially dilates the afferent arteriole and potentially induces glomerular hypertension. On the other hand, recently developed Ca channel blockers (CCBs) such as mibefradil and efonidipine block both T-type and L-type Ca channels and consequently dilate both afferent and efferent arterioles, leading to lowering of intraglomerular pressure. Interestingly, aldosterone has recently been recognized as a factor exacerbating renal diseases, and its secretion from adrenal gland is mediated by T-type Ca channels. Furthermore, T-type CCBs were shown to ameliorate renal dysfunction by suppressing inflammatory processes and renin secretion. On the basis of histological evaluations, N-type Ca channels are present in peripheral nerve terminals innervating both afferent and efferent arterioles. Further, it was suggested that N-type CCBs such as cilnidipine suppress renal arteriolar constriction induced by enhanced sympathetic nerve activity, thereby lowering intraglomerular pressure. Taken together, various Ca channel subtypes are present in the kidney and blockade of selective channels with distinct CCBs exerts diverse effects on renal microcirculation. Inhibition of T-type and N-type Ca channels with CCBs is anticipated to exert pleiotropic effects that would retard the progression of chronic kidney disease through modulation of renal hemodynamic and non-hemodynamic processes.