Mitophagy-dependent macrophage reprogramming protects against kidney fibrosis

Divya Bhatia, Kuei Pin Chung, Kiichi Nakahira, Edwin Patino, Michelle C. Rice, Lisa K. Torres, Thangamani Muthukumar, Augustine M.K. Choi, Oleh M. Akchurin, Mary E. Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Mitophagy, by maintaining mitochondrial quality control, plays a key role in maintaining kidney function and is impaired in pathologic states. Macrophages are well known for their pathogenic role in kidney fibrosis. Here, we report that PINK1/Parkin-mediated mitophagy in macrophages is compromised in experimental and human kidney fibrosis. We demonstrate downregulation of mitophagy regulators mitofusin-2 (MFN2) and Parkin downstream of PINK1 in kidney fibrosis. Loss of either Pink1 or Prkn promoted renal extracellular matrix accumulation and frequency of profibrotic/M2 macrophages. Pink1-/- or Prkn-/- BM-derived macrophages (BMDMs) showed enhanced expression of rictor. Mitochondria from TGF-β1-treated Pink1-/- BMDMs exhibited increased superoxide levels, along with reduced respiration and ATP production. In addition, mitophagy in macrophages involves PINK1-mediated phosphorylation of downstream MFN2, MFN2-facilitated recruitment of Parkin to damaged mitochondria, and macrophage-specific deletion of Mfn2 aggravates kidney fibrosis. Moreover, mitophagy regulators were downregulated in human CKD kidney and TGF-β1-treated human renal macrophages, whereas Mdivi1 treatment suppressed mitophagy mediators and promoted fibrotic response. Taken together, our study is the first to our knowledge to demonstrate that macrophage mitophagy plays a protective role against kidney fibrosis via regulating the PINK1/MFN2/Parkin-mediated pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere132826
JournalJCI insight
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 5 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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