Cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity is the main adverse effect of cisplatin-based chemotherapy and highly limits its clinical use. DMXAA, a flavonoid derivative, is a promising vascular disrupting agent and known as an agonist of STING. Although cGAS-STING activation has been demonstrated to mediate cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury (AKI), the role of DMXAA in this condition is unclear. Here, we defined an unexpected and critical role of DMXAA in improving renal function, ameliorating renal tubular injury and cell apoptosis, and suppressing inflammation in cisplatin-induced AKI. Moreover, we confirmed that DMXAA combated AKI in a STING-independent manner, as evidenced by its protective effect in STING global knockout mice subjected to cisplatin. Furthermore, we compared the role of DMXAA with another STING agonist SR717 in cisplatin-treated mice and found that DMXAA but not SR717 protected animals against AKI. To better evaluate the role of DMXAA, we performed transcriptome analyses and observed that both inflammatory and metabolic pathways were altered by DMXAA treatment. Due to the established role of metabolic disorders in AKI, which contributes to kidney injury and recovery, we also performed metabolomics using kidney tissues from cisplatin-induced AKI mice with or without DMXAA treatment. Strikingly, our results revealed that DMXAA improved the metabolic disorders in kidneys of AKI mice, especially regulated the tryptophan metabolism. Collectively, therapeutic administration of DMXAA ameliorates cisplatin-induced AKI independent of STING, suggesting a promising potential for preventing nephrotoxicity induced by cisplatin-based chemotherapy.

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