Autophagy in acute kidney injury

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Acute kidney injury is a major kidney disease associated with poor clinical outcomes. The pathogenesis of acute kidney injury is multifactorial and is characterized by tubular cell injury and death. Recent studies have shown autophagy induction in proximal tubular cells during acute kidney injury. The regulatory mechanisms of tubular cell autophagy are poorly understood; however, some recent findings have set up a foundation for further investigation. Although autophagy may promote cell death under certain experimental conditions, pharmacologic and autophagy-related gene knockout studies have established a renoprotective role for autophagy in acute kidney injury. The mechanisms by which autophagy protects cells from injury and how, possibly, its pro-survival role switches to pro-death under certain conditions are discussed. Further research is expected to help us understand the regulatory network of tubular cell autophagy, define its precise roles in the specific context of acute kidney injury, and identify autophagy-targeting strategies for the prevention and treatment of acute kidney injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Autophagy
  • Cell death
  • Cell survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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