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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2013 Aug 15;305(4):F520-31. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00570.2012. Epub 2013 Jun 12.

Mitochondrial dysfunction is an early event in aldosterone-induced podocyte injury.

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Dept. of Nephrology, Nanjing Children's Hospital, Affiliated to Nanjing Medical Univ., 72 Guangzhou Road, Nanjing 210029, Jiangsu Province, P. R. of China.


We previously showed that mitochondrial dysfunction (MtD) is involved in an aldosterone (Aldo)-induced podocyte injury. Here, the potential role of MtD in the initiation of podocyte damage was investigated. We detected the dynamic changes of urinary protein, urinary F2-isoprostane and renal malondialdehyde levels, kidney ultrastructure morphology, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number, mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), and nephrin and podocin expressions in Aldo-infused mice. Aldo infusion first induced renal oxidative stress, as evidenced by increased levels of urinary F2-isoprostane and renal malondialdehyde, and MtD, as demonstrated by reduced mtDNA, ΔΨm, and ATP production. Later, at 5 days after Aldo infusion, proteinuria and podocyte injury began to appear. In cultured podocytes, Aldo or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) induced MtD after 2-8 h of treatment, whereas the podocyte damage, as shown by decreased nephrin and podocin expressions, occurred later after 12 h of treatment. Thus Aldo treatment both in vitro and in vivo indicated that MtD occurred before podocyte damage. Additionally, MtDNA depletion by ethidium bromide or mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) RNAi induced MtD, further promoting podocyte damage. TFAM expression was found to be reduced in Aldo-infused mice and Aldo-treated podocytes. Adenoviral vector-mediated overexpression of TFAM prevented Aldo-induced MtD and protected against podocyte injury. Together, these findings support MtD as an early event in podocyte injury, and manipulation of TFAM may be a novel strategy for treatment of glomerular diseases such as podocytopathy.


aldosterone; mitochondria; mitochondrial transcription factor A; podocytes

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