• adenosine;
  • apoptosis;
  • postconditioning;
  • renal ischemia;
  • reperfusion injury


Significant organ injury occurs after transplantation and reflow (i.e., reperfusion injury). Postconditioning (PoC), consisting of alternating periods of reperfusion and re-occlusion at onset of reperfusion, attenuates reperfusion injury in organs including heart and brain. We tested whether PoC attenuates renal ischemia–reperfusion (I/R) injury in the kidney by activating adenosine receptors (AR) and protein kinase C (PKC). The single kidney rat I/R model was used. Groups: (1) sham: time-matched surgical protocol only. In all others, the left renal artery (RA) was occluded for 45 min and reperfused for 24 h. (2) Control: I/R with no intervention at R. All antagonists were administered 5 min before reperfusion. (3) PoC: I/R + four cycles of 45 s of R and 45 s of re-occlusion before full R. (4) PoC + ARi: PoC plus the AR antagonist 8-ρ-(sulfophenyl) theophylline (8-SPT). (5) PoC + PKCi: PoC plus the PKC antagonist chelerythrine (Che). In shams, plasma blood urea nitrogen (BUN mg/dl) at 24 h averaged 23.2 ± 5.3 and creatinine (Cr mg/dl) averaged 1.28 ± 0.2. PoC reduced BUN (87.2 ± 10 in Control vs. 38.8 ± 9, P = 0.001) and Cr (4.2 ± 0.6 in Control vs. 1.5 ± 0.2, P < 0.001). 8-SPT and Che reversed renal protection indices after PoC. I/R increased apoptosis, which was reduced by PoC, which was reversed by 8-SPT and Che. Postconditioning attenuates renal I/R injury by adenosine receptor activation and PKC signaling.