Mitochondrial Metabolism in Acute Kidney Injury

Semin Nephrol. 2020 Mar;40(2):101-113. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2020.01.002.


The kidney is a highly metabolic organ that requires substantial adenosine triphosphate for the active transport required to maintain water and solute reabsorption. Aberrations in energy availability and energy utilization can lead to cellular dysfunction and death. Mitochondria are essential for efficient energy production. The pathogenesis of acute kidney injury is complex and varies with different types of injury. However, multiple distinct acute kidney injury syndromes share a common dysregulation of energy metabolism. Pathways of energy metabolism and mitochondrial dysfunction are emerging as critical drivers of acute kidney injury and represent new potential targets for treatment. This review shows the basic metabolic pathways that all cells depend on for life; describes how the kidney optimizes those pathways to meet its anatomic, physiologic, and metabolic needs; summarizes the importance of metabolic and mitochondrial dysfunction in acute kidney injury; and analyzes the mitochondrial processes that become dysregulated in acute kidney injury including mitochondrial dynamics, mitophagy, mitochondrial biogenesis, and changes in mitochondrial energy metabolism.

Keywords: Acute kidney injury; metabolism; mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / blood supply
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney Cortex / blood supply
  • Kidney Cortex / metabolism
  • Kidney Medulla / blood supply
  • Kidney Medulla / metabolism
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics
  • Mitophagy
  • Nephrons / blood supply
  • Nephrons / metabolism
  • Organelle Biogenesis