Despite recent studies have demonstrated that the EGF receptor (EGFR) activation provided a renoprotective role during ischemic and folic acid-induced AKI, the role and regulation mechanism of EGFR in septic AKI remains unclear. Here, gefitinib, a highly selective EGFR inhibitor, abrogated LPS-induced phosphorylation of EGFR, ERK1/2, and STAT3 as well as expression of COX, eNOS, and proinflammatory cytokines in HK-2 cells. In addition, c-Src is an upstream of EGFR signaling pathway and mediates LPSinduced EGFR transactivation. In vivo, either gefitinib or genetic approaches (Wave-2 mutant mice, which have reduced EGFR tyrosine kinase activity) protected against LPS or cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) induced AKI respectively. Interestingly, the beneficial effects of gefitinib or genetic approaches were accompanied by the dephosphorylation of EGFR, ERK1/2, and STAT3, the down regulation of expression of COX, eNOS, macrophage infiltration, proinflammatory cytokines production and the renal cell apoptosis. Furthermore, mRNA array results indicated that gene families involved in cell death, inflammation, proliferation and signal transduction were down regulated in Wave-2 (Wa-2) mice. Take together, these data suggest that EGFR may mediate renal injury by promoting production of inflammatory factors and cell apoptosis. Inhibition of EGFR may have therapeutic potential for AKI during endotoxemia.
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