Effects of Elamipretide on Autophagy in Renal Cells of Pigs with Metabolic Syndrome

Siting Hong, Ramyar Ghandriz, Sarosh Siddiqi, Xiang Yang Zhu, Ishran M. Saadiq, Kyra L. Jordan, Hui Tang, Khaled A. Ali, Amir Lerman, Alfonso Eirin, Lilach O. Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autophagy eliminates excessive nutrients and maintains homeostasis. Obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS) dysregulate autophagy, possibly partly due to mitochondria injury and inflammation. Elamipretide (ELAM) improves mitochondrial function. We hypothesized that MetS blunts kidney autophagy, which ELAM would restore. Domestic pigs were fed a control or MetS-inducing diet for 16 weeks. During the 4 last weeks, MetS pigs received subcutaneous injections of ELAM (0.1 mg/kg/day, MetS + ELAM) or vehicle (MetS), and kidneys were then harvested to measure protein expression of autophagy mediators and apoptosis. Systemic and renal venous levels of inflammatory cytokines were measured to calculate renal release. The function of isolated mitochondria was assessed by oxidative stress, energy production, and pro-apoptotic activity. MetS slightly downregulated renal expression of autophagy mediators including p62, ATG5-12, mTOR, and AMPK vs. control. Increased mitochondrial H2O2 production accompanied decreased ATP production, elevated apoptosis, and renal fibrosis. In MetS + ELAM, mito-protection restored autophagic protein expression, improved mitochondrial energetics, and blunted renal cytokine release and fibrosis. In vitro, mitoprotection restored mitochondrial membrane potential and reduced oxidative stress in injured proximal tubular epithelial cells. Our study suggests that swine MetS mildly affects renal autophagy, possibly secondary to mitochondrial damage, and may contribute to kidney structural damage in MetS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2891
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • autophagy
  • inflammation
  • kidney
  • metabolic syndrome
  • mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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