Monophosphoryl lipid a induces protection against lps in medullary thick ascending limb through a tlr4-trif-pi3k signaling pathway

Bruns A. Watts, Thampi George, Edward R. Sherwood, David W. Good

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA) is a detoxified derivative of LPS that induces tolerance to LPS and augments host resistance to bacterial infections. Previously, we demonstrated that LPS inhibits HCO3- absorption in the medullary thick ascending limb (MTAL) through a basolateral Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88)-ERK pathway. Here we examined whether pretreatment with MPLA would attenuate LPS inhibition. MTALs from rats were perfused in vitro with MPLA (1 μg/ml) in bath and lumen or bath alone for 2 h, and then LPS was added to (and MPLA removed from) the bath solution. Pretreatment with MPLA eliminated LPS-induced inhibition of HCO3- absorption. In MTALs pretreated with MPLA plus a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) or Akt inhibitor, LPS decreased HCO-3 absorption. MPLA increased Akt phosphorylation in dissected MTALs. The Akt activation was eliminated by a PI3K inhibitor and in MTALs from TLR4-/- or Toll/IL-1 receptor domain-containing adaptor-inducing IFN-β (TRIF)-/- mice. The effect of MPLA to prevent LPS inhibition of HCO-3 absorption also was TRIF dependent. Pretreatment with MPLA prevented LPS-induced ERK activation; this effect was dependent on PI3K. MPLA alone had no effect on HCO-3 absorption, and MPLA pretreatment did not prevent ERK-mediated inhibition of HCO3- absorption by aldosterone, consistent with MPLA’s low toxicity profile. These results demonstrate that pretreatment with MPLA prevents the effect of LPS to inhibit HCO-3 absorption in the MTAL. This protective effect is mediated directly through MPLA stimulation of a TLR4-TRIF-PI3K-Akt pathway that prevents LPS-induced ERK activation. These studies identify detoxified TLR4-based immuno-modulators as novel potential therapeutic agents to prevent or treat renal tubule dysfunction in response to bacterial infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F103-F115
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 7 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Kidney
  • LPS
  • Monophosphoryl lipid A
  • Sepsis
  • Toll-like receptor 4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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