Cadmium (Cd), as an extremely toxic metal could accumulate in kidney and induce renal injury. Previous studies have proved that Cd impact on renal cell proliferation, autophagy and apoptosis, but the detoxification drugs and the functional mechanism are still in study. In this study, we used mouse renal tubular epithelial cells (mRTECs) to clarify Cd-induced toxicity and signaling pathways. Moreover, we proposed to elucidate the prevent effect of activation of Ca2+ sensing receptor (CaSR) by Calcimimetic (R-467) on Cd-induced cytotoxicity and underlying mechanisms. Cd induced intracellular Ca2+ elevation through phospholipase C-inositol 1, 4, 5-trisphosphate (PLC) followed stimulating p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) activation and suppressing extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation, which leaded to increase apoptotic cell death and inhibit cell proliferation. Cd induced p38 activation also contribute to autophagic flux inhibition that aggravated Cd induced apoptosis. R-467 reinstated Cd-induced elevation of intracellular Ca2+ and apoptosis, and it also increased cell proliferation and restored autophagic flux by switching p38 to ERK pathway. The identification of the activation of CaSR-mediated protective pathway in renal cells sheds light on a possible cellular protective mechanism against Cd-induced kidney injury.
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