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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2014 Feb 15;306(4):F367-78. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00571.2013. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathophysiology of renal diseases.

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Dept. of Nephrology, Nanjing Children's Hospital, Affiliated to Nanjing Medical Univ., Nanjing 210008, China.


Mitochondrial dysfunction has gained recognition as a contributing factor in many diseases. The kidney is a kind of organ with high energy demand, rich in mitochondria. As such, mitochondrial dysfunction in the kidney plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of kidney diseases. Despite the recognized importance mitochondria play in the pathogenesis of the diseases, there is limited understanding of various aspects of mitochondrial biology. This review examines the physiology and pathophysiology of mitochondria. It begins by discussing mitochondrial structure, mitochondrial DNA, mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production, mitochondrial dynamics, and mitophagy, before turning to inherited mitochondrial cytopathies in kidneys (inherited or sporadic mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA mutations in genes that affect mitochondrial function). Glomerular diseases, tubular defects, and other renal diseases are then discussed. Next, acquired mitochondrial dysfunction in kidney diseases is discussed, emphasizing the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury, as their prevalence is increasing. Finally, it summarizes the possible beneficial effects of mitochondrial-targeted therapeutic agents for treatment of mitochondrial dysfunction-mediated kidney injury-genetic therapies, antioxidants, thiazolidinediones, sirtuins, and resveratrol-as mitochondrial-based drugs may offer potential treatments for renal diseases.


acute kidney injury; chronic kidney disease; mitochrondria

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