Protein kinase C-δ mediates kidney tubular injury in cold storage-associated kidney transplantation

Jiefu Zhu, Gang Zhang, Zhixia Song, Xiaohong Xiang, Shaoqun Shu, Zhiwen Liu, Danyi Yang, Qingqing Wei, Zheng Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Kidney injury associated with cold storage is a determinant of delayed graft function and the long-term outcome of transplanted kidneys, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. We previously reported a role of protein kinase C-δ (PKCδ) in renal tubular injury during cisplatin nephrotoxicity and albumin-associated kidney injury, but whether PKCδ is involved in ischemic or transplantation-associated kidney injury is unknown. Methods: To investigate PKCδ's potential role in injury during cold storage-associated transplantation, we incubated rat kidney proximal tubule cells in University of Wisconsin (UW) solution at 4°C for cold storage, returning them to normal culture medium at 37°C for rewarming. We also stored kidneys from donor mice in cold UW solution for various durations, followed by transplantation into syngeneic recipient mice. Results: We observed PKCδ activation in both in vitro and in vivo models of cold-storage rewarming or transplantation. In the mouse model, PKCδ was activated and accumulated in mitochondria, where it mediated phosphorylation of a mitochondrial fission protein, dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), at serine 616. Drp1 activation resulted in mitochondrial fission or fragmentation, accompanied by mitochondrial damage and tubular cell death. Deficiency of PKCδ in donor kidney ameliorated Drp1 phosphorylation, mitochondrial damage, tubular cell death, and kidney injury during cold storage-associated transplantation. PKCδ deficiency also improved the repair and function of the renal graft as a life-supporting kidney. An inhibitor of PKCδ, dV1-1, protected kidneys against cold storage-associated transplantation injury. Conclusions: These results indicate that PKCδ is a key mediator of mitochondrial damage and renal tubular injury in cold storage-associated transplantation and may be an effective therapeutic target for improving renal transplant outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1050-1065
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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