Scientific reports

GDF11 improves tubular regeneration after acute kidney injury in elderly mice.

PMID 27703192


The GDF11 expression pattern and its effect on organ regeneration after acute injury in the elderly population are highly controversial topics. In our study, GDF11/8 expression increased after kidney ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), and the relatively lower level of GDF11/8 in the kidneys of aged mice was associated with a loss of proliferative capacity and a decline in renal repair, compared to young mice. In vivo, GDF11 supplementation in aged mice increased vimentin and Pax2 expression in the kidneys as well as the percentage of 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine (EdU)-positive proximal tubular epithelial cells. GDF11 improved the renal repair, recovery of renal function, and survival of elderly mice at 72 h after IRI. Moreover, the addition of recombinant GDF11 to primary renal epithelial cells increased proliferation, migration, and dedifferentiation by upregulating the ERK1/2 pathway in vitro. Our study indicates that GDF11/8 in the kidney decreases with age and that GDF11 can increase tubular cell dedifferentiation and proliferation as well as improve tubular regeneration after acute kidney injury (AKI) in old mice.