Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2014 Sep 4;9(9):e106554. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106554. eCollection 2014.

The AMPK agonist AICAR inhibits TGF-β1 induced activation of kidney myofibroblasts.

Author information

Kidney Research Center, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University, School of Medicine, Taoyuan, Taiwan.


Activation of interstitial myofibroblasts and excessive production of extracellular matrix proteins are common pathways that contribute to chronic kidney disease. In a number of tissues, AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) activation has been shown to inhibit fibrosis. Here, we examined the inhibitory effect of the AMPK activator, 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxyamide ribonucleoside (AICAR), on renal fibrosis in vivo and TGF-β1-induced renal fibroblasts activation in vitro. A unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) model was induced in male BALB/c mice. Mice with UUO were administered AICAR (500 mg/Kg/day) or saline intraperitoneally 1 day before UUO surgery and daily thereafter. Both kidneys were harvested 7 days after surgery for further analysis. For the in vitro studies, NRK-49F rat fibroblasts were pre-incubated with AICAR before TGF-β1 stimulation. The inhibitory effects of AICAR on signaling pathways down-stream of TGF-β1 were analyzed. In UUO model mice, administration of AICAR attenuated extracellular matrix protein deposition and the expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), type I collagen and fibronectin. Pre-incubation of NRK-49F cells with AICAR inhibited TGF-β1-induced myofibroblast activation. Silencing of AMPKα1 by siRNA or by blocking AMPK activation with Compound C diminished the inhibitory effect of AICAR. Moreover, the inhibitory effects of AICAR on TGF-β1-mediated myofibroblast activation were associated with down-regulation of ERK 1/2 and STAT3. Our results suggest that AICAR reduces tubulointerstitial fibrosis in UUO mice and inhibits TGF-β1-induced kidney myofibroblast activation. AMPK activation by AICAR may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center