Unilateral Renal Ischemia-Reperfusion as a Robust Model for Acute to Chronic Kidney Injury in Mice

PLoS One. 2016 Mar 23;11(3):e0152153. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152153. eCollection 2016.


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is an underestimated, yet important risk factor for development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Even after initial total recovery of renal function, some patients develop progressive and persistent deterioration of renal function and these patients are more likely to progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Animal models are indispensable for unravelling the mechanisms underlying this progression towards CKD and ESRD and for the development of new therapeutic strategies in its prevention or treatment. Ischemia (i.e. hypoperfusion after surgery, bleeding, dehydration, shock, or sepsis) is a major aetiology in human AKI, yet unilateral ischemia-reperfusion is a rarely used animal model for research on CKD and fibrosis. Here, we demonstrate in C57Bl/6J mice, by both histology and gene expression, that unilateral ischemia-reperfusion without contralateral nephrectomy is a very robust model to study the progression from acute renal injury to long-term tubulo-interstitial fibrosis, i.e. the histopathological hallmark of CKD. Furthermore, we report that the extent of renal fibrosis, in terms of Col I, TGFβ, CCN2 and CCN3 expression and collagen I immunostaining, increases with increasing body temperature during ischemia and ischemia-time. Thus, varying these two main determinants of ischemic injury allows tuning the extent of the long-term fibrotic outcome in this model. Finally, in order to cover the whole practical finesse of ischemia-reperfusion and allow model and data transfer, we provide a referenced overview on crucial technical issues (incl. anaesthesia, analgesia, and pre- and post-operative care) with the specific aim of putting starters in the right direction of implementing ischemia in their research and stimulate them, as well as the community, to have a critical view on ischemic literature data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / complications*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / metabolism
  • Acute Kidney Injury / pathology
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibrosis
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / etiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / metabolism
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / complications*
  • Reperfusion Injury / metabolism
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / physiopathology

Grant support

NLC was funded by a PhD grant of the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (http://www.iwt.be/), grant number 111389. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.