Macrophage-mediated injury and repair after ischemic kidney injury

Pediatr Nephrol. 2015 Feb;30(2):199-209. doi: 10.1007/s00467-013-2726-y. Epub 2014 Jan 19.


Acute ischemic kidney injury is a common complication in hospitalized patients. No treatment is yet available for augmenting kidney repair or preventing progressive kidney fibrosis. Animal models of acute kidney injury demonstrate that activation of the innate immune system plays a major role in the systemic response to ischemia/reperfusion injury. Macrophage depletion studies suggest that macrophages, key participants in the innate immune response, augment the initial injury after reperfusion but also promote tubular repair and contribute to long-term kidney fibrosis after ischemic injury. The distinct functional outcomes seen following macrophage depletion at different time points after ischemia/reperfusion injury suggest heterogeneity in macrophage activation states. Identifying the pathways that regulate the transitions of macrophage activation is thus critical for understanding the mechanisms that govern both macrophage-mediated injury and repair in the postischemic kidney. This review examines our understanding of the complex and intricately controlled pathways that determine monocyte recruitment, macrophage activation, and macrophage effector functions after renal ischemia/reperfusion injury. Careful delineation of repair and resolution pathways could provide therapeutic targets for the development of effective treatments to offer patients with acute kidney injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Reperfusion Injury / immunology*