NFAT5 Is Protective Against Ischemic Acute Kidney Injury
NFAT5 is a transcription factor that protects the kidney from hypertonic stress and also is activated by hypoxia. We hypothesized that NFAT5 mitigates the extent of renal damage induced by ischemia–reperfusion injury (IRI). Mice were subjected to IRI by unilateral clamping of the left renal pedicle for 30 minutes followed by reperfusion. After 3 hours of reperfusion, the level of NFAT5 mRNA was similar in contralateral and clamped kidneys. However, after 48 hours, NFAT5 mRNA accumulation increased ≈3-fold in both outer medulla and medullary thick ascending limb tubules. NFAT1 levels were elevated at 3 hours but did not increase further at 48 hours. Mice were then either pretreated for 72 hours with an intrarenal injection of a lentivirus short-hairpin RNA construct to silence NFAT5 (enhanced green fluorescent protein-U6-N5-ex8) or a control vector (enhanced green fluorescent protein-U6) before induction of IRI. Neutrophil gelatinase–associated lipocalin and kidney ischemia molecule-1 mRNA levels increased after IRI and further increased after knockdown of NFAT5, suggesting that silencing of NFAT5 exacerbates renal damage during IRI. In contrast, silencing of NFAT1 had no effect on the levels of neutrophil gelatinase–associated lipocalin or kidney ischemia molecule-1 mRNA. Hematoxylin and eosin staining revealed patchy denudation of renal epithelial cells and tubular dilation when NFAT5 was silenced. The number of TUNEL-positive cells in the outer and inner medulla of the clamped kidney increased nearly 2-fold after knockdown of NFAT5 and was associated with an increase in the number of caspase-3–positive cells. Collectively, the data suggest that NFAT5 is part of a protective mechanism that limits renal damage induced by IRI.
- Received September 25, 2013.
- Revision received October 16, 2013.
- Accepted November 14, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.