Experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that renal medulla is more sensitive to hypoxia than is the cortex. Using the one-dimensional phase encoding technique to perform 31phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy in a perfused porcine kidney preparation, cortex and medulla were differentiated on the basis of the unique resonance at 3 ppm found only in medulla. Hypotension- induced hypoxia reduced total renal oxygen consumption by 60%, and urine flow by 44%. Nonlocalized 31P MRS spectra showed that [ATP]/[Pi] ratio fell by 40%, and intrarenal pH by 0.1 unit. Virtually all of these changes could be accounted for by changes in the renal cortex, where initial [ATP]/[Pi] was higher than in medulla (1.16 vs. 0.68). In medulla [ATP]/[Pi] fell only 29% (n.s. versus control) and pH remained unchanged during hypotension. Thus the cortex appears to be more sensitive to hypoxia in this preparation, and observations fail to support the proposed hypothesis. They are consistent, however, with the greater capacity of medulla for anaerobic glycolysis. Localized 31P MRS provides improved noninvasive metabolic assessment of cold-preserved kidneys.
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