Renal hypoxia occurs in acute kidney injury (AKI) of various etiologies. Activation of hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF) has been identified as an important mechanism of cellular adaptation to low oxygen. Preconditional HIF activation protects against AKI, suggesting a new approach in AKI treatment. HIF is degraded under normoxic conditions mediated by oxygen-dependent hydroxylation of specific prolyl residues of the regulative α-subunits by HIF prolyl hydroxylases (PHD). FG-4592 is a novel, orally active, small-molecule HIF PHD inhibitor for the treatment of anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The current study aimed to evaluate the effect of FG-4592 (Roxadustat) on cis-diamminedichloroplatinum (cisplatin)-induced kidney injury. In mice, pretreatment with FG-4592 markedly ameliorated cisplatin-induced kidney injury as shown by the improved renal function (blood urea nitrogen (BUN), serum creatinine (Scr), and cystatin C) and kidney morphology (periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) staining) in line with a robust blockade of renal tubular injury markers of kidney injury molecule 1 (KIM-1) and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL). Meanwhile, the renal apoptosis and inflammation induced by cisplatin were also strikingly attenuated in FG-4592-treated mice. Along with the protective effects shown above, FG-4592 pretreatment strongly enhanced HIF-1α in tubular cells, as well as the expressions of HIF target genes. FG-4592 alone did not affect the renal function and morphology in mice. In vitro, FG-4592 treatment significantly up-regulated HIF-1α and protected the tubular cells against cisplatin-induced apoptosis. In summary, FG-4592 treatment remarkably ameliorated the cisplatin-induced kidney injury possibly through the stabilization of HIF. Thus, besides the role in treating CKD anemia, the clinical use of FG-4592 also could be extended to AKI.

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