PINK1-PRKN/PARK2 pathway of mitophagy is activated to protect against renal ischemia-reperfusion injury

<p>Damaged or dysfunctional mitochondria are toxic to the cell by producing reactive oxygen species and releasing cell death factors. Therefore, timely removal of these organelles is critical to cellular homeostasis and viability. Mitophagy is the mechanism of selective degradation of mitochondria via autophagy. The significance of mitophagy in kidney diseases, including ischemic acute kidney injury (AKI), has yet to be established, and the involved pathway of mitophagy remains poorly understood. Here, we show that mitophagy is induced in renal proximal tubular cells in both in vitro and in vivo models of ischemic AKI. Mitophagy under these conditions is abrogated by <i>Pink1</i> and <i>Park2</i> deficiency, supporting a critical role of the PINK1-PARK2 pathway in tubular cell mitophagy. Moreover, ischemic AKI is aggravated in <i>pink1</i> and<i>park2</i> single- as well as double-knockout mice. Mechanistically, <i>Pink1</i> and <i>Park2</i> deficiency enhances mitochondrial damage, reactive oxygen species production, and inflammatory response. Taken together, these results indicate that PINK1-PARK2-mediated mitophagy plays an important role in mitochondrial quality control, tubular cell survival, and renal function during AKI.</p>