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Maessenhausen, Anne von; Tonnus, Wulf; Himmerkus, Nina; Parmentier, Simon; Saleh, Danish; Rodriguez, Diego; Ousingsawat, Jiraporn; Ang, Rosalind L.; Weinberg, Joel M.; Sanz, Ana B.; Ortiz, Alberto; Zierleyn, Adrian; Becker, Jan Ulrich; Baratte, Blandine; Desban, Nathalie; Bach, Stephane; Schiessl, Ina Maria; Nogusa, Shoko; Balachandran, Siddharth; Anders, Hans Joachim; Ting, Adrian T.; Bleich, Markus; Degterev, Alexei; Kunzelmann, Karl; Bornstein, Stefan R.; Green, Douglas R.; Hugo, Christian; Linkermann, Andreas (2018): Phenytoin inhibits necroptosis. In: Cell Death & Disease, Vol. 9, 359
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Abstract

Receptor-interacting protein kinases 1 and 3 (RIPK1/3) have best been described for their role in mediating a regulated form of necrosis, referred to as necroptosis. During this process, RIPK3 phosphorylates mixed lineage kinase domain like (MLKL) to cause plasma membrane rupture. RIPK3-deficient mice have recently been demonstrated to be protected in a series of disease models, but direct evidence for activation of necroptosis in vivo is still limited. Here, we sought to further examine the activation of necroptosis in kidney ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and from TNF alpha-induced severe inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), two models of RIPK3-dependent injury. In both models, MLKL-ko mice were significantly protected from injury to a degree that was slightly, but statistically significantly exceeding that of RIPK3-deficient mice. We also demonstrated, for the first time, accumulation of pMLKL in the necrotic tubules of human patients with acute kidney injury. However, our data also uncovered unexpected elevation of blood flow in MLKL-ko animals, which may be relevant to IRI and should be considered in the future. To further understand the mode of regulation of cell death by MLKL, we screened a panel of clinical plasma membrane channel blockers and we found phenytoin to inhibit necroptosis. However, we further found that phenytoin attenuated RIPK1 kinase activity in vitro, likely due to the hydantoin scaffold also present in necrostatin-1, and blocked upstream necrosome formation steps in the cells undergoing necroptosis. We further report that this clinically used anticonvulsant drug displayed protection from kidney IRI and TNF alpha-induces SIRS in vivo. Overall, our data reveal the relevance of RIPK3-pMLKL regulation for acute kidney injury and identifies an FDA-approved drug that may be useful for immediate clinical evaluation of inhibition of pro-death RIPK1/RIPK3 activities in human diseases.