Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common clinical condition of growing incidence. Patients who suffer severe AKI have a higher risk of developing interstitial fibrosis, chronic kidney disease, and end-stage renal disease later in life. Cellular senescence is a persistent cell cycle arrest and altered gene expression pattern evoked by multiple stressors. The number of senescent cells increases with age and even in small numbers these cells can induce chronic inflammation and fibrosis; indeed, in multiple organs including kidneys, the accumulation of such cells is a hallmark of aging. We hypothesized that cellular senescence might be induced in the kidney after injury and that this might contribute to progressive organ fibrosis. Testing this hypothesis, we found that tubular epithelial cells (TECs) in mice senesce within a few days of kidney injury and that this response is mediated by epithelial Toll-like and interleukin 1 receptors (TLR/IL-1R) of the innate immune system. Epithelial cell–specific inhibition of innate immune signaling in mice by knockout of myeloid differentiation 88 (Myd88) reduced fibrosis as well as damage to kidney tubules, and also prevented the accumulation of senescent TECs. Importantly, although inactivation of Myd88 after injury ameliorated fibrosis, it did not reduce damage to the tubules. Selectively induced apoptosis of senescent cells by two different approaches only partially reduced kidney fibrosis, without ameliorating damage to the tubules. Our data reveal a cell-autonomous role for epithelial innate immunity in controlling TEC senescence after kidney injury, and additionally suggest that early therapeutic intervention is required for effective reduction of long-term sequelae of AKI.
Heng Jin, Yan Zhang, Qiong Ding, Shan Shan Wang, Prerna Rastogi, Dao-Fu Dai, Dongmei Lu, Madison Purvis, Chao Cao, Angela Wang, Dingxiao Liu, Chongyu Ren, Sarah Elhadi, Ming-Chang Hu, Yanfen Chai, Diana Zepeda-Orozco, Judith Campisi, Massimo Attanasio
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.