Pathogenesis of renal ischemia/reperfusion injury: Lessons from knockout mice

Yeong Hau H. Lien, Li Wen Lai, Arnold L. Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Ischemia/reperfusion-induced acute renal failure is a common clinical problem associated with a high morbidity and mortality. Upon hypoxic injury, the depletion of ATP causes mitochondrial dysfunction, and accumulation of intracellular sodium, calcium and reactive oxygen species. Subsequently, multiple enzyme systems including proteases, nitric oxide synthases, phospholipases and endonuclease are activated and responsible for cytoskeleton disruption, membrane damage, and DNA degradation, and eventually cell death. Ischemia/reperfusion injury also activates complement, cytokines, and chemokines, which are cytotoxic themselves, but also attract leukocytes into the ischemic area to cause further damage. The vascular endothelial cell injury and dysfunction prolong ischemia and induce vascular congestion, edema, and further infiltration of inflammatory cells. Many players in renal ischemia/reperfusion injury and their mechanisms have been investigated using genetically manipulated mouse models. In this review, we focus on the information gathered from these studies. Deficiency of the Na/Ca exchanger, inducible nitric oxide synthase, Caspase-1, A3 adenosine receptor, C3, C5, C6, Factor B, or medkine protects the kidney against I/R injury. Conversely, deficiency of the interleukin-1 receptor, osteopontin, C4, or recombination activation gene-1 is not protective, while the absence of adrenomedullin or endothelin receptor B delays the recovery of ischemia/reperfusion injury. The knowledge obtained from these studies provides new direction for designing potential therapeutic agents for treating ischemia/reperfusion injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-552
Number of pages10
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 19 2003


  • Hypoxia
  • Intracellular calcium
  • Ischemia
  • Knockout mice
  • Renal proximal tubular cells
  • Reperfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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