Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling is active in inflammation, but its involvement in septic acute kidney injury (AKI) has not been shown. mTORC1 activation (p-S6) in renal fibroblasts was increased in a mouse AKI model induced by 1.5 mg/kg lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Deletion of tuberous sclerosis complex 1 (TSC1), an mTORC1 negative regulator, in fibroblasts (Fibro-TSC1−/−) inhibited the elevation of serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen in AKI compared with that in TSC1fl/fl control mice. Endothelin-1 (EDN1) and phospho-Jun-amino-terminal kinase (p-JNK) were up-regulated in Fibro-TSC1−/− renal fibroblasts after LPS challenge. Rapamycin, an mTORC1 inhibitor, and bosentan, an EDN1 antagonist, eliminated the difference in renal function between TSC1fl/fl and Fibro-TSC1−/− mice after LPS injection. Rapamycin restored LPS-induced up-regulation of EDN1, endothelin converting enzyme-1 (ECE1), and p-JNK in TSC1-knockdown mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). SP600125, a Jun-amino-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor, attenuated LPS-induced enhancement of EDN1 and ECE1 in TSC1-knockdown MEFs without a change in phospho-S6 ribosomal protein (p-S6) level. The results indicate that mTORC1–JNK-dependent up-regulation of ECE1 elevated EDN1 in TSC1-knockout renal fibroblasts and contributed to improvement of renal function in Fibro-TSC1−/− mice with LPS-induced AKI. Renal fibroblast mTORC1 plays an important role in septic AKI.

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