Dojuksan ameliorates tubulointerstitial fibrosis through irisin-mediated muscle-kidney crosstalk

Songling Jiang, Dal Seok Oh, Debra Dorotea, Eunjung Son, Dong Seon Kim, Hunjoo Ha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Sarcopenia progresses in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is positively correlated with mortality in end-stage kidney disease patients. Circulating irisin, an exercise-induced myokine, gradually decreases during CKD stage progression. Irisin inhibits the progression of kidney fibrosis, which is the final common outcome of CKD. Our preliminary study with C2C12 cells showed that Dojuksan, a herbal decoction, increases the expression of PGC1α (a regulator of irisin) and FNDC5 (a precursor of irisin). Hypothesis: Dojuksan may increase circulating irisin and prevent the progression of kidney fibrosis. Study Design and Methods: Unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) was performed on seven-week-old male C57BL/6 mice to induce kidney tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Dojuksan (50, 100, or 200 mg/kg/day) or losartan (1.5 mg/kg/day), a standard clinical treatment for CKD, was administered orally one day prior to surgery and continued for seven days thereafter. To determine the role of irisin released from muscles, TGFβ-stimulated murine proximal tubular epithelial cells (mProx24 cells) were treated with conditioned media (CM) from Dojuksan-treated C2C12 muscle cells transfected with FNDC5 siRNA. Results: UUO mice exhibited muscle wasting along with progressive kidney injury. Similar to losartan, Dojuksan ameliorated kidney inflammation and fibrosis in UUO mice. Dojuksan, but not losartan, increased plasma irisin concentration in UUO mice. Dojuksan significantly increased basal FNDC5 expression and inhibited TNFα-induced and indoxyl sulfate-induced FNDC5 down-regulation in C2C12 cells. The TGFβ-induced collagen I (COL1) up-regulation in mProx24 cells was effectively inhibited by CM from C2C12 cells after Dojuksan treatment. Moreover, irisin inhibited TGFβ-induced COL1 in mProx24 cells, which was not affected by CM from C2C12 cells transfected with FNDC5 siRNA. Conclusion: Dojuksan ameliorates kidney fibrosis through irisin-mediated muscle-kidney crosstalk, suggesting that Dojuksan may be used as an alternative therapeutic agent against CKD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153393
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 Elsevier GmbH


  • Herbal product
  • Irisin
  • Kidney fibrosis
  • Muscle atrophy
  • PGC1α


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