Reactive oxygen species, endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, and mitogen-activated protein kinases have important roles in the pathogenesis of ischemia/reperfusion kidney injury. Stanniocalcin-1 (STC1) suppresses superoxide generation in many systems through the induction of mitochondrial uncoupling proteins and blocks the cytokine-induced rise in endothelial permeability. Here we tested whether transgenic overexpression of STC1 protects from bilateral ischemia/reperfusion kidney injury. This injury in wild-type mice caused a halving of the creatinine clearance; severe tubular vacuolization and cast formation; increased infiltration of macrophages and T cells; higher vascular permeability; greater production of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide; and higher ratio of activated extracellular regulated kinase/activated Jun-N-terminal kinase and p38, all compared to sham-treated controls. Mice transgenic for human STC1 expression, however, had resistance to equivalent ischemia/reperfusion injury indicated as no significant change from controls in any of these parameters. Tubular epithelial cells in transgenic mice expressed higher mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2 and lower superoxide generation. Pre-treatment of transgenic mice with paraquat, a generator of reactive oxygen species, before injury restored the susceptibility to ischemia/reperfusion kidney injury, suggesting that STC1 protects by an anti-oxidant mechanism. Thus, STC1 may be a therapeutic target for ischemia/reperfusion kidney injury.
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