Activation of BNIP3-mediated mitophagy protects against renal ischemia–reperfusion injury

Chengyuan Tang, Hailong Han, Zhiwen Liu, Yuxue Liu, Lijun Yin, Juan Cai, Liyu He, Yu Liu, Guochun Chen, Zhuohua Zhang, Xiao Ming Yin, Zheng Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a syndrome of abrupt loss of renal functions. The underlying pathological mechanisms of AKI remain largely unknown. BCL2-interacting protein 3 (BNIP3) has dual functions of regulating cell death and mitophagy, but its pathophysiological role in AKI remains unclear. Here, we demonstrated an increase of BNIP3 expression in cultured renal proximal tubular epithelial cells following oxygen-glucose deprivation-reperfusion (OGD-R) and in renal tubules after renal ischemia–reperfusion (IR)-induced injury in mice. Functionally, silencing Bnip3 by specific short hairpin RNAs in cultured renal tubular cells reduced OGD-R-induced mitophagy, and potentiated OGD-R-induced cell death. In vivo, Bnip3 knockout worsened renal IR injury, as manifested by more severe renal dysfunction and tissue injury. We further showed that Bnip3 knockout reduced mitophagy, which resulted in the accumulation of damaged mitochondria, increased production of reactive oxygen species, and enhanced cell death and inflammatory response in kidneys following renal IR. Taken together, these findings suggest that BNIP3-mediated mitophagy has a critical role in mitochondrial quality control and tubular cell survival during AKI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number677
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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