Sepsis and acute kidney injury (AKI) synergistically increase morbidity and mortality in the ICU. How sepsis reduces glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and causes AKI is poorly understood; one proposed mechanism includes tubuloglomerular feedback (TGF). When sodium reabsorption by the proximal tubules is reduced in normal animals, the macula densa senses increased luminal sodium chloride, and then adenosine-1a receptor (A1aR) signaling triggers tubuloglomerular feedback, reducing GFR through afferent arteriole vasoconstriction. We measured GFR and systemic hemodynamics early during cecal ligation and puncture-induced sepsis in wild-type and A1aR-knockout mice. A miniaturized fluorometer was attached to the back of each mouse and recorded the clearance of FITC-sinistrin via transcutaneous fluorescence to monitor GFR. Clinical organ injury markers and cytokines were measured and hemodynamics monitored using implantable transducer telemetry devices. In wild-type mice, GFR was stable within 1 h after surgery, declined by 43% in the next hour, and then fell to less than 10% of baseline after 2 h and 45 min. In contrast, in A1aR-knockout mice GFR was 37% below baseline immediately after surgery and then gradually declined over 4 h. A1aR-knockout mice had similar organ injury and inflammatory responses, albeit with lower heart rate. We conclude that transcutaneous fluorescence can accurately monitor GFR and detect changes rapidly during sepsis. Tubuloglomerular feedback plays a complex role in sepsis; initially, TGF helps maintain GFR in the 1st hour, and over the subsequent 3 h, TGF causes GFR to plummet. By 18 h, TGF has no cumulative effect on renal or extrarenal organ damage.
Keywords: adenosine-1a receptor; glomerular filtration rate.