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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48952. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048952. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Hypoxia-inducible factor activation protects the kidney from gentamicin-induced acute injury.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Maryknoll Hospital, Busan, Korea.


Gentamicin nephrotoxicity is one of the most common causes of acute kidney injury (AKI). Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is effective in protecting the kidney from ischemic and toxic injury. Increased expression of HIF-1α mRNA has been reported in rats with gentamicin-induced renal injury. We hypothesizd that we could study the role of HIF in gentamicin-induced AKI by modulating HIF activity. In this study, we investigated whether HIF activation had protective effects on gentamicin-induced renal tubule cell injury. Gentamicin-induced AKI was established in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Cobalt was continuously infused into the rats to activate HIF. HK-2 cells were pre-treated with cobalt or dimethyloxalylglycine (DMOG) to activate HIF and were then exposed to gentamicin. Cobalt or DMOG significantly increased HIF-1α expression in rat kidneys and HK-2 cells. In HK-2 cells, HIF inhibited gentamicin-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation. HIF also protected these cells from apoptosis by reducing caspase-3 activity and the amount of cleaved caspase-3, and -9 proteins. Increased expression of HIF-1α reduced the number of gentamicin-induced apoptotic cells in rat kidneys and HK-2 cells. HIF activation improved the creatinine clearance and proteinuria in gentamicin-induced AKI. HIF activation also ameliorated the extent of histologic injury and reduced macrophage infiltration into the tubulointerstitium. In gentamicin-induced AKI, the activation of HIF by cobalt or DMOG attenuated renal dysfunction, proteinuria, and structural damage through a reduction of oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis in renal tubular epithelial cells.

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