Abstract:                                                                                                                                                Our previous studies indicate that prolonged caffeine consumption exacerbates renal failure in nephropathy associated with the metabolic syndrome. Reduced activity of the antioxidant defense system and beneficial effects of antioxidant therapy have been reported in diabetic rats and humans. The purpose of this study was to examine the early renal effects of caffeine consumption and the effects of concomitant antioxidant therapy in young obese, diabetic ZSF1 rats. Eleven-week-old male ZSF1 rats were randomized to drink tap water, caffeine (0.1%), tempol (1 mmol/L), or a solution containing caffeine and tempol for nine weeks. Caffeine significantly reduced body weight and glycosuria (weeks 2-9), improved glucose tolerance (week 9), had no effect on elevated plasma triglycerides, plasma cholesterol (week 9) and blood pressure (week 9), and significantly increased plasma cholesterol level (weeks 5 and 9). Yet, as early as after two weeks, caffeine greatly augmented proteinuria and increased renal vascular resistance (RVR) and heart rate (HR: week 9). Tempol had no effects on metabolic status and development of proteinuria, did not alter caffeine-induced metabolic changes and early proteinuria, and attenuated caffeine-induced increase in HR and RVR. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed significant glomerular and interstitial inflammation, proliferation, and fibrosis in control animals. Caffeine augmented the influx of glomerular and interstitial macrophages (ED1+ cells) influx, glomerular and tubular proliferative response, and glomerular collagen IV content. Tempol abolished the exacerbation of renal inflammation, proliferation, and fibrosis induced by caffeine. In conclusion, in nephropathy associated with the metabolic syndrome, caffeine--most likely through the interaction with adenosine receptors and interference with anti-inflammatory and/or glomerular hemodynamic effects of adenosine--augments proteinuria and stimulates some of the key proliferative mechanisms involved in glomerular remodeling and sclerosis. Tempol does not prevent early renal injury (i.e., proteinuria) induced by caffeine, yet abolishes late renal inflammatory, proliferative, and fibrotic change induced by chronic caffeine consumption in obese ZSF1 rats