Noncoding RNAs in acute kidney injury

Timo Brandenburger*, Antonio Salgado Somoza, Yvan Devaux, Johan M. Lorenzen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is an important health issue concerning ∼50% of patients treated in intensive care units. AKI mainly occurs after sepsis, acute ischemia, nephrotoxicity, or hypoxia and leads to severe damage of the kidney and to an increased risk of mortality. The diagnosis of AKI is currently based on creatinine urea levels and diuresis. Yet, novel markers may improve the accuracy of this diagnosis at an early stage of the disease, thereby allowing early prevention and therapy, ultimately leading to a reduction in the need for renal replacement therapy and decreased mortality. Non–protein-coding RNAs or noncoding RNAs are central players in development and disease. They are important regulatory molecules that allow a fine-tuning of gene expression and protein synthesis. This regulation is necessary to maintain homeostasis, and its dysregulation is often associated with disease development. Noncoding RNAs are present in the kidney and in body fluids and their expression is modulated during AKI. This review article assembles the current knowledge of the role of noncoding RNAs, including microRNAs, long noncoding RNAs and circular RNAs, in the pathogenesis of AKI. Their potential as biomarkers and therapeutic targets as well as the challenges to translate research findings to clinical application are discussed. Although microRNAs have entered clinical testing, preclinical and clinical trials are needed before long noncoding RNAs and circular RNAs may be considered as useful biomarkers or therapeutic targets of AKI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)870-881
Number of pages12
JournalKidney International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • acute kidney injury
  • biomarkers
  • circular RNAs
  • diagnosis
  • long noncoding RNAs
  • microRNAs
  • noncoding RNAs
  • prevention
  • therapeutics


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