Ischemia-reperfusion injury is a major cause of acute kidney injury. Recent studies on the pathophysiology of ischemia-reperfusion-induced acute kidney injury showed that immunologic responses significantly affect kidney ischemia-reperfusion injury and repair. Nuclear factor (NF)-ĸB signaling, which controls cytokine production and cell survival, is significantly involved in ischemia-reperfusion-induced acute kidney injury, and its inhibition can ameliorate ischemic acute kidney injury.
Using EXPLOR, a novel, optogenetically engineered exosome technology, Yonsei University researchers successfully delivered the exosomal super-repressor inhibitor of NF-ĸB (Exo-srIĸB) into B6 wild type mice before/after kidney ischemia-reperfusion surgery, and compared outcomes with those of a control exosome (Exo-Naïve)-injected group. Exo-srIĸB treatment resulted in lower levels of serum blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin in post-ischemic mice than in the Exo-Naïve treatment group. Systemic delivery of Exo-srIĸB decreased NF-ĸB activity in post-ischemic kidneys and reduced apoptosis. Post-ischemic kidneys showed decreased gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules with Exo-srIĸB treatment as compared with the control. Intravital imaging confirmed the uptake of exosomes in neutrophils and macrophages. Exo-srIĸB treatment also significantly affected post-ischemic kidney immune cell populations, lowering neutrophil, monocyte/macrophage, and T cell frequencies than those in the control. Thus, modulation of NF-ĸB signaling through exosomal delivery can be used as a novel therapeutic method for ischemia-reperfusion-induced acute kidney injury.