Oxidant Mechanisms in Renal Injury and Disease

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2016 Jul 20;25(3):119-46. doi: 10.1089/ars.2016.6665. Epub 2016 Apr 26.


Significance: A common link between all forms of acute and chronic kidney injuries, regardless of species, is enhanced generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) during injury/disease progression. While low levels of ROS and RNS are required for prosurvival signaling, cell proliferation and growth, and vasoreactivity regulation, an imbalance of ROS and RNS generation and elimination leads to inflammation, cell death, tissue damage, and disease/injury progression.

Recent advances: Many aspects of renal oxidative stress still require investigation, including clarification of the mechanisms which prompt ROS/RNS generation and subsequent renal damage. However, we currently have a basic understanding of the major features of oxidative stress pathology and its link to kidney injury/disease, which this review summarizes.

Critical issues: The review summarizes the critical sources of oxidative stress in the kidney during injury/disease, including generation of ROS and RNS from mitochondria, NADPH oxidase, and inducible nitric oxide synthase. The review next summarizes the renal antioxidant systems that protect against oxidative stress, including superoxide dismutase and catalase, the glutathione and thioredoxin systems, and others. Next, we describe how oxidative stress affects kidney function and promotes damage in every nephron segment, including the renal vessels, glomeruli, and tubules.

Future directions: Despite the limited success associated with the application of antioxidants for treatment of kidney injury/disease thus far, preventing the generation and accumulation of ROS and RNS provides an ideal target for potential therapeutic treatments. The review discusses the shortcomings of antioxidant treatments previously used and the potential promise of new ones. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 25, 119-146.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / drug therapy
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology*
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism*
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / metabolism
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology
  • Kidney Tubules / metabolism
  • Leukocytes / immunology
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Leukocytes / pathology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Oxidants / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Renal Circulation


  • Antioxidants
  • Oxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species