Mitochondria Permeability Transition versus Necroptosis in Oxalate-Induced AKI

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2019 Oct;30(10):1857-1869. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2018121218. Epub 2019 Jul 11.


Background: Serum oxalate levels suddenly increase with certain dietary exposures or ethylene glycol poisoning and are a well known cause of AKI. Established contributors to oxalate crystal-induced renal necroinflammation include the NACHT, LRR and PYD domains-containing protein-3 (NLRP3) inflammasome and mixed lineage kinase domain-like (MLKL) protein-dependent tubule necroptosis. These studies examined the role of a novel form of necrosis triggered by altered mitochondrial function.

Methods: To better understand the molecular pathophysiology of oxalate-induced AIK, we conducted in vitro studies in mouse and human kidney cells and in vivo studies in mice, including wild-type mice and knockout mice deficient in peptidylprolyl isomerase F (Ppif) or deficient in both Ppif and Mlkl.

Results: Crystals of calcium oxalate, monosodium urate, or calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate, as well as silica microparticles, triggered cell necrosis involving PPIF-dependent mitochondrial permeability transition. This process involves crystal phagocytosis, lysosomal cathepsin leakage, and increased release of reactive oxygen species. Mice with acute oxalosis displayed calcium oxalate crystals inside distal tubular epithelial cells associated with mitochondrial changes characteristic of mitochondrial permeability transition. Mice lacking Ppif or Mlkl or given an inhibitor of mitochondrial permeability transition displayed attenuated oxalate-induced AKI. Dual genetic deletion of Ppif and Mlkl or pharmaceutical inhibition of necroptosis was partially redundant, implying interlinked roles of these two pathways of regulated necrosis in acute oxalosis. Similarly, inhibition of mitochondrial permeability transition suppressed crystal-induced cell death in primary human tubular epithelial cells. PPIF and phosphorylated MLKL localized to injured tubules in diagnostic human kidney biopsies of oxalosis-related AKI.

Conclusions: Mitochondrial permeability transition-related regulated necrosis and necroptosis both contribute to oxalate-induced AKI, identifying PPIF as a potential molecular target for renoprotective intervention.

Keywords: acute renal failure; cell biology and structure; cyclosporine; kidney tubule; mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced
  • Acute Kidney Injury / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mitochondrial Transmembrane Permeability-Driven Necrosis*
  • Necroptosis*
  • Oxalates / administration & dosage


  • Oxalates