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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2014 Jan 1;306(1):F75-84. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00117.2013. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Ischemia-reperfusion induces renal tubule pyroptosis via the CHOP-caspase-11 pathway.

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Dept. of Nephrology, Daping Hospital, Research Institute of Surgery, the Third Military Medical Univ., Chongqing 400042, China.


The apoptotic or necrotic death of renal tubule epithelial cells is the main pathogenesis of renal ischemia-reperfusion-induced acute kidney injury (AKI). Pyroptosis is a programmed cell death pathway that depends on the activation of the caspase cascade and IL-1 cytokine family members. However, the role of pyroptosis in AKI induced by ischemia-reperfusion remains unclear. In this study, we found that the levels of the pyroptosis-related proteins, including caspase-1, caspase-11, and IL-1β, were significantly increased after 6 h of renal ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and peaked at 12 h after IRI. Enhanced pyroptosis was accompanied by elevated renal structural and functional injury. Similarly, hypoxia-reoxygenation injury (HRI) also induced pyroptosis in renal tubule epithelial NRK-52E cells, which was characterized by increased pore formation and elevated lactate dehydrogenase release. In addition, obvious upregulation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress biomarkers glucose-regulated protein 78 and C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) preceded the incidence of pyroptosis in cells treated with IRI or HRI. Pretreatment with a low dose of tunicamycin, an inducer of ER stress, relieved IRI-induced pyroptosis and renal tissue injury. Silencing of CHOP by small interfering RNA significantly decreased HRI-induced pyroptosis of NRK-52E cells, as evidenced by reduced caspase-11 activity and IL-1β generation. Therefore, we conclude that pyroptosis of renal tubule epithelial cells is a key event during IRI and that CHOP-caspase-11 triggered by overactivated ER stress may be an essential pathway involved in pyroptosis.


C/EBP homologous protein; caspase-11; endoplasmic reticulum stress; pyroptosis; renal ischemia-reperfusion injury

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