The homeostasis and health of an organism depend on the coordinated interaction of specialized organs, which is regulated by interorgan communication networks of circulating soluble molecules and neuronal connections. Many diseases that seemingly affect one primary organ are really multiorgan diseases, with substantial secondary remote organ complications that underlie a large part of their morbidity and mortality. Acute kidney injury (AKI) frequently occurs in critically ill patients with multiorgan failure and is associated with high mortality, particularly when it occurs together with respiratory failure. Inflammatory lung lesions in patients with kidney failure that could be distinguished from pulmonary oedema due to volume overload were first reported in the 1930s, but have been largely overlooked in clinical settings. A series of studies over the past two decades have elucidated acute and chronic kidney–lung and lung–kidney interorgan communication networks involving various circulating inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, metabolites, uraemic toxins, immune cells and neuro-immune pathways. Further investigations are warranted to understand these clinical entities of high morbidity and mortality, and to develop effective treatments.