PBI-4050 (3-pentylbenzenacetic acid sodium salt), a novel first-in-class orally active compound that has completed clinical Phases Ib and II in subjects with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and metabolic syndrome respectively, exerts antifibrotic effects in several organs via a novel mechanism of action, partly through activation of the G protein receptor 40 (GPR40) receptor. Here we evaluate the effects of PBI-4050 in both WT and Gpr40−/− mice on adenine-induced tubulointerstitial injury, anemia and activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway. Adenine-induced CKD was achieved in 8-week-old C57BL/6 mice fed a diet supplemented with 0.25% adenine. After 1 week, PBI-4050 or vehicle was administered daily by oral-gavage for 3 weeks. Gpr40−/− mice were also subjected to adenine-feeding, with or without PBI-4050 treatment. PBI-4050 improved renal function and urine concentrating ability. Anemia was present in adenine-fed mice, while PBI-4050 blunted these effects and led to significantly higher plasma erythropoietin (EPO) levels. Adenine-induced renal fibrosis, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and apoptosis were significantly decreased by PBI-4050. In parallel, Gpr40−/− mice were more susceptible to adenine-induced fibrosis, renal function impairment, anemia and ER stress compared with WT mice. Importantly, PBI-4050 treatment in Gpr40−/− mice failed to reduce renal injury in this model. Taken together, PBI-4050 prevented adenine-induced renal injury while these beneficial effects were lost upon Gpr40 deletion. These data reinforce PBI-4050’s use as a renoprotective therapy and identify GPR40 as a crucial mediator of its beneficial effects.

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