Tissue hypoxia/ischemia is a pathological feature of many human disorders including stroke, myocardial infarction, hypoxic/ischemic nephropathy, as well as cancer. In the kidney, the combination of limited oxygen supply to the tissues and high oxygen demand is considered the main reason for the susceptibility of the kidney to hypoxic/ischemic injury. In recent years, increasing evidence has indicated that a reduction in renal oxygen tension/blood supply plays an important role in acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, and renal tumorigenesis. However, the underlying signaling mechanisms, whereby hypoxia alters cellular behaviors, remain poorly understood. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are key signal-transducing enzymes activated by a wide range of extracellular stimuli, including hypoxia/ischemia. There are four major family members of MAPKs: the extracellular signal-regulated kinases-1 and -2 (ERK1/2), the c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK), p38 MAPKs, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase-5 (ERK5/BMK1). Recent studies, including ours, suggest that these MAPKs are differentially involved in renal responses to hypoxic/ischemic stress. This review will discuss their changes in hypoxic/ischemic pathophysiology with acute kidney injury, chronic kidney diseases and renal carcinoma.
© 2016 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.