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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2014 Apr 1;306(7):F734-43. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00643.2013. Epub 2014 Feb 5.

Inactivation of renal mitochondrial respiratory complexes and manganese superoxide dismutase during sepsis: mitochondria-targeted antioxidant mitigates injury.

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Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Univ. of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 325 Jack Stephens Dr., Biomedical Bldg. I, 323D, Little Rock, AR 72205.


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a complication of sepsis and leads to a high mortality rate. Human and animal studies suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction plays an important role in sepsis-induced multi-organ failure; however, the specific mitochondrial targets damaged during sepsis remain elusive. We used a clinically relevant cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) murine model of sepsis and assessed renal mitochondrial function using high-resolution respirometry, renal microcirculation using intravital microscopy, and renal function. CLP caused a time-dependent decrease in mitochondrial complex I and II/III respiration and reduced ATP. By 4 h after CLP, activity of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) was decreased by 50% and inhibition was sustained through 36 h. These events were associated with increased mitochondrial superoxide generation. We then evaluated whether the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant Mito-TEMPO could reverse renal mitochondrial dysfunction and attenuate sepsis-induced AKI. Mito-TEMPO (10 mg/kg) given at 6 h post-CLP decreased mitochondrial superoxide levels, protected complex I and II/III respiration, and restored MnSOD activity by 18 h. Mito-TEMPO also improved renal microcirculation and glomerular filtration rate. Importantly, even delayed therapy with a single dose of Mito-TEMPO significantly increased 96-h survival rate from 40% in untreated septic mice to 80%. Thus, sepsis causes sustained inactivation of three mitochondrial targets that can lead to increased mitochondrial superoxide. Importantly, even delayed therapy with Mito-TEMPO alleviated kidney injury, suggesting that it may be a promising approach to treat septic AKI.


kidney; mitochondria; mitochondrial antioxidant; oxidative stress; sepsis

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