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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2009 Mar;296(3):F478-86. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.90477.2008. Epub 2009 Jan 14.

Calpain 10 is required for cell viability and is decreased in the aging kidney.

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Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Center for Cell Death, Injury, and Regeneration, South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, USA.


Aging is associated with abnormalities in kidney function, but the exact mechanisms are unknown. We examined calpains 1, 2, and 10 protein levels in kidneys from rats, mice, and humans of various ages and determined whether calpain 10 is required for cell viability. Calpain 10 protein expression decreased in the kidney, but not in the liver, of aging Fischer 344 rats, and this decrease was attenuated with caloric restriction. There was no change in calpains 1 or 2 levels in the kidney or liver in control and caloric-restricted aging rats. Aging mice also exhibited decreased calpain 10 protein levels. Calpain 10 protein and mRNA levels decreased linearly in human kidney samples with age in the absence of changes in calpains 1 or 2. Our laboratory previously found calpain 10 to be expressed in both the cytosol and mitochondria of rabbit renal proximal tubular cells (RPTC). Adenoviral-delivered shRNA to rabbit RPTC decreased mitochondrial calpain 10 expression below detectable levels by 3 days while cytosolic calpain 10 levels remained unchanged at 3 days and decreased to approximately 20% of control by 5 days. Knockdown of mitochondrial calpain 10 resulted in nuclear condensation and cleaved procaspase 3, markers of apoptosis. In summary, mitochondrial calpain 10 is required for cell viability and calpain 10 levels specifically decrease in aging rat, mice, and human kidney tissues when renal function decreases, suggesting that calpain 10 is required for renal function and is a biomarker of the aging kidney.

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