Targeting AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) for treatment of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease
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Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is the most common monogenetic kidney disease worldwide and an important cause of chronic kidney disease. Multiple experimental studies have highlighted the role of increased mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) and reduced AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling in modulating cyst growth in ADPKD. Notably, mTORC1 and AMPK are two diametrically opposing sensors of energy metabolism which regulate cell growth and proliferation. Although pharmacological mTORC1 inhibition was highly effective in experimental studies of ADPKD, clinical trials of mTORC1 inhibitors showed a lack of efficacy with low-dose treatment and poor tolerability with high-dose treatment. Therapeutic AMPK activation has been shown to attenuate cystic kidney disease severity in Pkd1 mutant animal models by improving mitochondrial biogenesis and reducing tissue inflammation. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the function of AMPK as a regulator of cellular energy metabolism and how AMPK activation by pharmacological and non-pharmacological means can potentially be exploited to treat ADPKD in the clinical settings.
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