Renal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury continues to be a complicated situation in clinical practice. Genistein, the main isoflavone found in soy products, is known to possess a wide spectrum of biochemical and pharmacological activities. However, the protective effect of genistein on renal I/R injury has not been well investigated. In the current study, we explore whether genistein exhibits its renal-protective effects through SIRT1 (Sirtuin 1) in I/R-induced mice model. We found the treatment of genistein significantly reduced renal I/R-induced cell death, simultaneously stimulating renal cell proliferation. Meanwhile, SIRT1 expression was up-regulated following the administration of genistein in renal region. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition or shRNA-mediated depletion of SIRT1 significantly reversed the protective effect of genistein on renal dysfunction, cellular damage, apoptosis, and proliferation following I/R injury, suggesting an indispensible role of the increased SIRT1 expression and activity in this process. Meanwhile, the reduced p53 and p21 expression and increased PCNA (Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen) expression were blocked after the depletion of SIRT1 compared with the genistein treatment group in the renal I/R process. Hence, our results provided further experimental basis for the potential use of genistein for the treatment of kidney disease with deficiency of SIRT1 activity.
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