Glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper promotes neutrophil and T-cell polarization with protective effects in acute kidney injury

Babak Baban, Cristina Marchetti, Hesam Khodadadi, Aneeq Malik, Golnaz Emami, Ping-Chang Lin, Ali S. Arbab, Carlo Riccardi, Mahmood S. Mozaffari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ) mediates anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids. Acute kidney injury (AKI) mobilizes immune/inflammatory mechanisms, causing tissue injury, but the impact of GILZ in AKI is not known. Neutrophils play context-specific proinflammatory [type 1 neutrophil (N1)] and anti-inflammatory [type 2 neutrophil (N2)] functional roles. Also, regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs) and regulatory T-17 (Treg17) cells exert counterinflammatory effects, including the suppression of effector T lymphocytes [e.g., T-helper (Th) 17 cells]. Thus, utilizing cell preparations of mice kidneys subjected to AKI or sham operation, we determined the effects of GILZ on T cells and neutrophil subtypes in the context of its renoprotective effect; these studies used the transactivator of transcription (TAT)-GILZ or the TAT peptide. AKI increased N1 and Th-17 cells but reduced N2, Tregs, and Treg17 cells in association with increased interleukin (IL)-171 but reduced IL-101 cells accompanied with the disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential (ψm) and increased apoptosis/necrosis compared with sham kidneys. TAT-GILZ, compared with TAT, treatment reduced N1 and Th-17 cells but increased N2 and Tregs, without affecting Treg17 cells, in association with a reduction in IL-171 cells but an increase in IL-101 cells; TAT-GILZ caused less disruption of ψm and reduced cell death in AKI. Importantly, TAT-GILZ increased perfusion of the ischemic-reperfused kidney but reduced tissue edema compared with TAT. Utilizing splenic T cells and bone marrow–derived neutrophils, we further showed marked reduction in the proliferation of Th cells in response to TAT-GILZ compared with response to TAT. Collectively, the results indicate that GILZ exerts renoprotection accompanied by the upregulation of the regulatory/suppressive arm of immunity in AKI, likely via regulating cross talk between T cells and neutrophils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-493
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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