Wnt agonist decreases tissue damage and improves renal function after ischemia-reperfusion

Michael Kuncewitch, Weng Lang Yang, Lana Corbo, Adam Khader, Jeffrey Nicastro, Gene F. Coppa, Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Renal ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury (IRI) after shock states or transplantation causes tissue damage and delayed graft function, respectively. The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays a critical role in nephrogenesis. We therefore hypothesized that pharmacological activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling by the Wnt agonist, a synthetic pyrimidine, could protect kidneys from IRI. Adult male rats were subjected to bilateral clamping of the renal pedicles with microvascular clips for 60 min, followed by reperfusion. The Wnt agonist (5 mg/kg body weight) or vehicle (20% dimethyl sulfoxide in saline) was administered intravenously 1 h before ischemia. Blood and renal tissues were collected 24 h after IR for evaluation. Renal IR caused a significant reduction of β-catenin and its downstream target gene cyclin D1 by 65% and 39%, respectively, compared with the sham, whereas the Wnt agonist restored them to sham levels. The number and intensity of cells staining with the proliferation marker Ki67 in ischematized kidneys were enhanced by the Wnt agonist. The integrity of the renal histological architecture in the Wnt agonist group was better preserved than the vehicle group. The Wnt agonist significantly lowered serum levels of creatinine, aspartate aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase and inhibited the production of interleukin 6 and interleukin 1β and myeloperoxidase activities. Lastly, the Wnt agonist reduced inducible nitric oxide synthase, nitrotyrosine proteins, and 4-hydroxynonenal in the kidneys by 60%, 47%, and 21%, respectively, compared with the vehicle. These results indicate that the Wnt agonist improves renal regeneration and function while attenuating inflammation and oxidative stress in the kidneys after IR. Thus, pharmacologic stimulation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling provides a beneficial effect on the prevention of renal IRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-275
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Oxidative stress
  • Proliferation
  • Renal ischemia-reperfusion
  • Wnt agonist
  • Wnt/β-catenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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