Heme oxygenase-1 induction contributes to renoprotection by G-CSF during rhabdomyolysis-associated acute kidney injury

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2011 Jul;301(1):F162-70. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00438.2010. Epub 2011 Apr 20.


Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is renoprotective during acute kidney injury (AKI) induced by ischemia and cisplatin nephrotoxicity; however, the underlying mechanism is not entirely clear. Rhabdomyolysis is another important clinical cause of AKI, due to the release of nephrotoxins (e.g., heme) from disrupted muscles. The current study has determined the effects of G-CSF on rhabdomyolysis-associated AKI using in vivo and in vitro models. In C57BL/6 mice, intramuscular injection of glycerol induced AKI, which was partially prevented by G-CSF pretreatment. Consistently, glycerol-induced renal tissue damage was ameliorated by G-CSF. In addition, animal survival following the glycerol injection was improved from ∼30 to ∼70% by G-CSF. In cultured renal tubular cells, hemin-induced apoptosis was also suppressed by G-CSF. Interestingly, G-CSF induced heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1, a critical enzyme for heme/hemin degradation and detoxification) in both cultured tubular cells and mouse kidneys. Blockade of HO-1 with protoporphyrin IX zinc(II) (ZnPP) could largely diminish the protective effects of G-CSF. Together, these results demonstrated the renoprotective effects of G-CSF in rhabdomyolysis-associated AKI. Notably, G-CSF may directly protect against tubular cell injury under the disease condition by inducing HO-1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / pathology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / prevention & control*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Bone Marrow Cells / drug effects
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Chimera
  • Enzyme Induction / physiology
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / pharmacology*
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / biosynthesis*
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / physiology
  • Hemin / pharmacology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Kidney Tubules / cytology
  • Kidney Tubules / drug effects
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / cytology
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rhabdomyolysis / chemically induced
  • Rhabdomyolysis / pathology
  • Rhabdomyolysis / prevention & control*
  • Survival


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Hemin
  • Heme Oxygenase-1
  • Caspases