Simultaneous deletion of bax and bak is required to prevent apoptosis and interstitial fibrosis in obstructive nephropathy

Hee Seong Jang, Babu J. Padanilam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Proximal tubular injury and apoptosis are key mediators of the development of kidney fibrosis, a hallmark of chronic kidney disease. However, the molecular mechanism by which tubular apoptotic cell death leads to kidney fibrosis is poorly understood. In the present study, we tested the roles of Bcl-2-associated X (Bax) and Bcl-2 antagonist/killer (Bak), two crucial proteins involved in intrinsic apoptotic cell death, in the progression of kidney fibrosis. Mice with proximal tubule-specific Bax deletion, systemic deletion of Bak, and dual deletion of Bax and Bak were subjected to unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). Dual deficiency of Bax and Bak inhibited tubular apoptosis and atrophy. Consistent with decreased tubular injury, dual ablation of Bax and Bak suppressed UUO-induced inflammation and kidney fibrosis with decreased tubular cell cycle arrest, expression of fibrogenic and inflammatory cytokines, and oxidative stress in the kidney. Bax or Bak deficiency was insufficient to prevent apoptosis and all other aforementioned malevolent effects, suggesting compensatory mediation by each other in the respective signaling pathways. These data suggest that dual ablation of Bax and Bak in the kidney is required to prevent UUO-induced tubular apoptosis and the consequent kidney inflammation and fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F540-F550
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2015


  • Apoptosis
  • Bcl-2 antagonist/killer
  • Bcl-2-associated X
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Fibrosis
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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