Background Acute kidney injury (AKI) is most commonly caused by sepsis in critically ill patients, and it is associated with high morbidity and mortality. The pathophysiology of sepsis-induced AKI is generally accepted to include direct inflammatory injury, endothelial cell dysfunction, and apoptosis. Milk fat globule-epidermal growth factor-factor VIII (MFG-E8) is a secretory glycoprotein with a known role in the enhancement of apoptotic cell clearance and regulation of inflammation. We hypothesize that administration of recombinant mouse MFG-E8 (rmMFG-E8) can protect mice from kidney injuries caused by sepsis. Methods Sepsis was induced in 8-wk-old male C57BL/6 mice by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). rmMFG-E8 or phosphate-buffered saline (vehicle) was injected intravenously at a dosage of 20 μg/kg body weight at time of CLP (n = 5-8 mice per group). After 20 h, serum and renal tissue were harvested for various analyses. The renal injury markers blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine were determined by enzymatic and chemical reactions, respectively. The gene expression analysis was carried out by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Results At 20 h after CLP, serum levels of BUN and creatinine were both significantly increased in the vehicle group compared with the sham group, whereas the mice treated with rmMFG-E8 had a significant reduction in BUN and creatinine levels by 28% and 24.1%, respectively (BUN: 197.7 ± 23.6 versus 142.3 ± 20.7 mg/dL; creatinine: 0.83 ± 0.12 versus 0.63 ± 0.06 mg/dL; P < 0.05). Expressions of novel biomarkers of renal tissue injury neutrophil gelatinase–associated lipocalin and kidney injury molecule-1 were also significantly downregulated by 58.2% and 95%, respectively, after treatment with rmMFG-E8. Proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α messenger RNA (mRNA) were significantly reduced by 50.8% and 50.3%, respectively, in rmMFG-E8–treated mice compared with vehicle-treated mice. The mRNA levels of the chemokines keratinocyte chemoattractant and macrophage inhibitory protein-2 were reduced by 85.1% and 78%, respectively, in mice treated with rmMFG-E8 compared with the vehicle mice. In addition, the expression of intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 and platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1/CD31) mRNA was downregulated by 35.6% and 77.8%, respectively, in rmMFG-E8–treated mice compared with the vehicle animals (P < 0.05). Conclusions Treatment with rmMFG-E8 reduces renal tissue injury induced by sepsis through inhibiting the production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokine, as well as through the activation of endothelial cells. Thus, MFG-E8 may have a therapeutic potential for treating AKI induced by sepsis.
- Acute kidney injury
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