ND-13, a DJ-1-derived peptide, attenuates the renal expression of fibrotic and inflammatory markers associated with unilateral ureter obstruction

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



International Journal of Molecular Sciences








DJ-1; Fibrosis; ND-13; Oxidative stress; Renal disease; Renal inflammation; UUO


© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. DJ-1 is a redox-sensitive chaperone with reported antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in the kidney. The 20 amino acid (aa) peptide ND-13 consists of 13 highly conserved aas from the DJ-1 sequence and a TAT-derived 7 aa sequence that helps in cell penetration. This study aimed to determine if ND-13 treatment prevents the renal damage and inflammation associated with unilateral ureter obstruction (UUO). Male C57Bl/6 and DJ-1−/− mice underwent UUO and were treated with ND-13 or vehicle for 14 days. ND-13 attenuated the renal expression of fibrotic markers TGF-β and collagen1a1 (Col1a1) and inflammatory markers TNF-α and IL-6 in C57Bl/6 mice. DJ-1−/− mice treated with ND-13 presented similar decreased expression of TNF-α, IL-6 and TGF-β. However, in contrast to C57Bl/6 mice, ND-13 failed to prevent renal fibrosis or to ameliorate the expression of Col1a1 in this genotype. Further, UUO led to elevated urinary levels of the proximal tubular injury marker neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) in DJ-1−/− mice, which were blunted by ND-13. Our results suggest that ND-13 protects against UUO-induced renal injury, inflammation and fibrosis. These are all crucial mechanisms in the pathogenesis of kidney injury. Thus, ND-13 may be a new therapeutic approach to prevent renal diseases.

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