Protective effect of mitochondria-targeted antioxidants in an acute bacterial infection

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Aug 13;110(33):E3100-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1307096110. Epub 2013 Jul 29.


Acute pyelonephritis is a potentially life-threatening infection of the upper urinary tract. Inflammatory response and the accompanying oxidative stress can contribute to kidney tissue damage, resulting in infection-induced intoxication that can become fatal in the absence of antibiotic therapy. Here, we show that pyelonephritis was associated with oxidative stress and renal cell death. Oxidative stress observed in pyelonephritic kidney was accompanied by a reduced level of mitochondrial B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2). Importantly, renal cell death and animal mortality were both alleviated by mitochondria-targeted antioxidant 10(6'-plastoquinonyl) decylrhodamine 19 (SkQR1). These findings suggest that pyelonephritis can be treated by reducing mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and thus by protecting mitochondrial integrity and lowering kidney damage.

Keywords: inflammation; innate immunity; phenoptosis; toll-like receptors; urological diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Escherichia coli
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Plastoquinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Plastoquinone / pharmacology
  • Plastoquinone / therapeutic use
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism*
  • Pyelonephritis / drug therapy*
  • Pyelonephritis / pathology
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Rhodamines / pharmacology*
  • Rhodamines / therapeutic use


  • 10-(6'-plastoquinonyl) decylrhodamine 19
  • Antioxidants
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Rhodamines
  • Peroxidase
  • Plastoquinone