Tissue injury can drive secondary organ injury; however, mechanisms and mediators are not well understood. To identify interorgan cross-talk mediators, we used acute kidney injury (AKI)–induced acute lung injury (ALI) as a clinically important example. Using kidney and lung single-cell RNA sequencing after AKI in mice followed by ligand-receptor pairing analysis across organs, kidney ligands to lung receptors, we identify kidney-released circulating osteopontin (OPN) as a novel AKI-ALI mediator. OPN release from kidney tubule cells triggered lung endothelial leakage, inflammation, and respiratory failure. Pharmacological or genetic OPN inhibition prevented AKI-ALI. Transplantation of ischemic wt kidneys caused AKI-ALI, but not of ischemic OPN–global knockout kidneys, identifying kidney-released OPN as necessary interorgan signal to cause AKI-ALI. We show that OPN serum levels are elevated in patients with AKI and correlate with kidney injury. Our results demonstrate feasibility of using ligand-receptor analysis across organs to identify interorgan cross-talk mediators and may have important therapeutic implications in human AKI-ALI and multiorgan failure.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabm5900
JournalScience Advances
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 2022


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