The pathophysiology of ischemic acute kidney injury (AKI) is thought to include a complex interplay between vascular endothelial cell dysfunction, inflammation, and tubular cell damage. Several lines of evidence suggest a potential anti-inflammatory effect of vitamin D in various kidney injury models. In this study, we investigated the effect of paricalcitol, a synthetic vitamin D analog, on renal inflammation in a mouse model of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) induced acute kidney injury (AKI). Paricalcitol was administered via intraperitoneal (IP) injection at 24h before ischemia, and then I/R was performed through bilateral clamping of the renal pedicles. Twenty-four hours after I/R, mice were sacrificed for the evaluation of injury and inflammation. Additionally, an in vitro experiment using HK-2 cells was also performed to examine the direct effect of paricalcitol on tubular cells. Pre-treatment with paricalcitol attenuated functional deterioration and histological damage in I/R induced AKI, and significantly decreased tissue neutrophil and macrophage infiltration and the levels of chemokines, the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6), and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). It also decreased IR-induced upregulation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), and nuclear translocation of p65 subunit of NF-κB. Results from the in vitro study showed pre-treatment with paricalcitol suppressed the TNF-α-induced depletion of cytosolic IκB in HK-2 cells. These results demonstrate that pre-treatment with paricalcitol has a renoprotective effect in ischemic AKI, possibly by suppressing TLR4-NF-κB mediated inflammation.
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