Mitochondrial damage or dysfunction contribute critically to the pathogenesis of various diseases including AKI.
We believe the mitochondria is positioned to be a critical player in AKI with its dual role as the primary source of energy for each cell and as a key regulator of cell death.
In AKI mitochondrial damage leads to sublethal and lethal injury of kidney tubules, and the consequent loss of renal function. In various models of AKI, mitochondrial dynamics are disrupted, and membrane integrity is compromised, resulting in the release of apoptogenic factors, mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) pores, loss of membrane potential, energetic failure, and reactive oxygen species production to induce cell injury and death.
Notably, preservation of mitochondrial dynamics, prevention of mitochondrial membrane permeabilization, and/or promotion of mitochondrial biogenesis can protect kidney tubular cells and tissues in AKI. As such, targeting the mitochondria has been proposed as a therapeutic strategy.
UNI-494 is a patented pro-drug of nicorandil which is currently in development for the treatment of AKI. Nicorandil has been shown in preclinical models to improve mitochondrial function by blocking the opening of MPTP pores in the inner mitochondrial membrane.
Role of MPTP in Mitochondrial Destruction
Mitochondrial Permeability Transition Pores (MPTP) form due to:
Induction/opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pores (mPTP) leads to cessation of ATP synthesis, leading to loss of ion homeostasis, cell disintegration and death. 3-5 Mitochondrial damage and dysfunction are recognized as major pathogenic events in a variety of diseases, including both acute and chronic kidney diseases.1, 2, 6-8
Nicorandil binds to K ATP channel on internal mitochondrial membrane
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- Crompton M, et al. Evidence for the presence of a reversible Ca2+-dependent pore activated by oxidative stress in heart mitochondria. 1987; 245: 915-918
- Camara AKS et al. Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Strategies Directed to Mitochondria. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling 2010; 13(3): 280-326.
- Szeto HH 2017. Pharmacologic Approaches to Improve Mitochondrial Function in AKI and CKD. J Am Soc Nephrol 2017; 28: 2856-2865
- Zhan M. Mitochondrial dynamics: regulatory mechanisms and emerging role in renal pathophysiology. Kidney Int 2013; 83(4): 568-581
- Che R et al. Mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathophysiology of renal diseases. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 2013; 306: 367-378