Visual Abstract

Background: Ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury is the main cause of acute kidney injury (AKI), and its incidence and mortality increase year by year in the population. Dexmedetomidine (DEX) can improve AKI by regulating inflammation and oxidative stress, but its mechanism is still unclear. Methods: A hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) model of HK-2 cells and a kidney I/R model of C57BL/6J mice were established. In the experiment, cells were transfected with sh-PGC-1α to inhibit PGC-1α expression. The changes of ROS level and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were analyzed. HE staining was used to assess kidney damage in mice. Concentration of kidney injury markers serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen and expression of inflammatory factors were detected by ELISA. qPCR analysis was used to detect mRNA levels of related proteins in cells and mouse kidney tissues. The protein intracellular content and phosphorylation levels were determined by Western blotting. Result: The production of inflammatory factors and ROS was increased in HK-2 cells treated with H/R, while MMP, cell viability, and mitochondrial-related protein levels were decreased. DEX attenuated pathological changes induced by H/R, while knockdown of PGC-1α eliminated the mitigation effect. DEX inhibited the damage of I/R to the kidneys of mice and increased the expression of mitochondrial-related proteins and PGC-1α in the kidneys, while inhibiting the phosphorylation of STAT1 and the expression of IRF-1. Conclusions: DEX appears to inhibit mitochondrial damage and cellular inflammation by upregulating PGC-1α to affect STAT1 phosphorylation level and IRF-1 expression, thereby preventing AKI.

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