Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) is a major cause of acute kidney injury (AKI), along with delayed graft function, which can trigger chronic kidney injury by stimulating epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in the kidney canaliculus. Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1P1) is a G protein-coupled receptor that is indispensable for vessel homeostasis. This study aimed to investigate the influence of S1P1 on the mechanisms underlying I/R-induced EMT in the kidney using in vivo and in vitro models. Wild-type (WT) and S1P1-overexpressing kidney canaliculus cells were subject to hypoxic conditions followed by reoxygenation in the presence or absence of FTY720-P, a potent S1P1 agonist. In vivo, bilateral arteria renalis in wild-type mice and mice with silenced S1P1 were clamped for 30 min to obtain I/R models. We found that hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) significantly enhanced the expressions of EMT biomarkers and down-regulated S1P1 expression in wild-type canaliculus cells. In contrast, FTY720-P treatment or overexpression of S1P1 significantly suppressed EMT in wild-type canaliculus cells. Furthermore, after 48-72 h, a significant upregulation of EMT biomarker expression was triggered by I/R in mice with silenced S1P1, while the expressions of these markers did not change in wild-type mice. A kt activity was increased with H/R-induced EMT, suggesting that the protective influence of FTY720-P was due to its inhibition of PI3K/Akt. Therefore, the results of this study provide evidence that down-regulation of S1P1 expression is essential for the generation and progression of EMT triggered by I/R. S1P1 exhibits a prominent inhibitory effect on kidney I/R-induced EMT in the kidney by affecting the PI3K/Akt pathway.
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