Acute kidney injury (AKI) is the most common complication of sepsis with a high mortality rate. In this study, we focus on the renal injury caused by the immune response of renal tubular epithelial cells and inflammation-induced renal tubular epithelial cell apoptosis. We studied the role of GRP120 in the inflammation and apoptosis of human renal cell line HK-2 and mouse primary renal tubular epithelial cells. GPR120 agonist GW9508 activated the GPR120 pathway. Inflammatory factors were detected using quantitative real-time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Cell apoptosis experiments included the annexin V and PI double-staining method combined with flow cytometry, TUNEL method, and Western blot. The level of cytokines including TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β, and iNOS was significantly decreased (P < 0.05) in HK-2 and TECs after the activation of the GPR120 pathway. Besides, the cell apoptosis of both cells increased. Overexpressed GPR120 and shGPR120 were established. Treatment with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) increased the level of cytokines including TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β, and iNOS in HK-2 cell and TECs. Compared with control-LPS and negative control (NC)-LPS, the overexpression of GPR120 and shGPR120 could decrease and increase the level of secreted cytokines significantly (P < 0.05), respectively, after LPS-induced apoptosis. After HO- and LPS-induced apoptosis, respectively, compared with the control and NC groups, overexpressed GPR120 and shGPR120 could reduce and increase the expression of caspase-3, respectively. GPR120 could suppress the cellular immune response and apoptosis in renal tubular epithelial cells, thereby possibly protecting the kidney and relieving sepsis-induced AKI.
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