Netrin-1 regulates colon-kidney cross talk through suppression of IL-6 function in a mouse model of DSS-colitis

Punithavathi Ranganathan, Calpurnia Jayakumar, Manicassamy Santhakumar, Ganesan Ramesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Organ cross talk is increasingly appreciated in human disease, and inflammatory mediators are shown to mediate distant organ injury in many disease models. Colitis and intestinal injury are known to be mediated by infiltrating immune cells and their secreted cytokines. However, its effect on other organs, such as the kidney, has never been studied. In the current study, we examined the effect of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-colitis on kidney injury and inflammation. In addition, we hypothesized that netrin-1 could modulate colon-kidney cross talk through regulation of inflammation and apoptosis. Consistent with our hypothesis, DSS-colitis induced acute kidney injury in mice. Epithelial-specific overexpres-sion of netrin-1 suppressed both colitis and colitis-induced acute kidney injury, which was associated with reduced weight loss, neu-trophil infiltration into colon mucosa, intestinal permeability, epithelial cell apoptosis, and cytokine and chemokine production in netrin-1 transgenic mice colon and kidney. To determine whether netrin-1-protective effects were mediated through suppression of IL-6, IL-6 knockout mice were treated with DSS and acute kidney injury was determined. IL-6 knockout was resistant to colitis and acute kidney injury. Moreover, administration of IL-6 to netrin-1 transgenic mice did not affect the netrin-1-protective effects on the colon and kidney, suggesting that netrin-1 may reduce both IL-6 production and its activity. The present study identifies previously unrecognized cross talk between the colon and kidney, and netrin-1 may limit distant organ injury by suppressing inflammatory mediators and apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F1187-F1197
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2013


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Colitis
  • IL-6
  • Netrin-1
  • Organ cross talk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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