Research Papers: Immunology:

Nickel chloride (NiCl2) induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress by activating UPR pathways in the kidney of broiler chickens

Hongrui Guo, Hengmin Cui _, Xi Peng, Jing Fang, Zhicai Zuo, Junliang Deng, Xun Wang, Bangyuan Wu, Kejie Chen and Jie Deng

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:17508-17519. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7919

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Hongrui Guo1, Hengmin Cui1,2, Xi Peng1,2, Jing Fang1,2, Zhicai Zuo1,2, Junliang Deng1,2, Xun Wang1,2, Bangyuan Wu1, Kejie Chen1 and Jie Deng1

1 Key Laboratory of Animal Diseases and Environmental Hazards of Sichuan Province, Yaan, Sichuan, China

2 College of Veterinary Medicine, Sichuan Agricultural University, Yaan, Sichuan, China

Correspondence to:

Hengmin Cui, email:

Keywords: NiCl2, ER stress, UPR, PERK, IRE1, Immunology and Microbiology Section, Immune response, Immunity

Received: December 13, 2015 Accepted: February 23, 2016 Published: March 04, 2016


It has been known that overexposure to Ni can induce nephrotoxicity. However, the mechanisms of underlying Ni nephrotoxicity are still elusive, and also Ni- and Ni compound-induced ER stress has been not reported in vivo at present. Our aim was to use broiler chickens as animal model to test whether the ER stress was induced and UPR was activated by NiCl2 in the kidney using histopathology, immunohistochemistry and qRT-PCR. Two hundred and eighty one-day-old broiler chickens were divided into 4 groups and fed on a control diet and the same basal diet supplemented with 300 mg/kg, 600mg/kg and 900mg/kg of NiCl2 for 42 days. We found that dietary NiCl2 in excess of 300 mg/kg induced ER stress, which was characterized by increasing protein and mRNA expression of ER stress markers, e.g., GRP78 and GRP94. Concurrently, all the three UPR pathways were activated by dietary NiCl2. Firstly, the PERK pathway was activated by increasing eIF2a and ATF4 mRNA expression. Secondly, the IRE1 pathway was activated duo to increase in IRE1 and XBP1 mRNA expression. And thirdly, the increase of ATF6 mRNA expression suggested that ATF6 pathway was activated. The findings clearly demonstrate that NiCl2 induces the ER stress through activating PERK, IRE1 and ATF6 UPR pathways, which is proved to be a kind of molecular mechanism of Ni- or/and Ni compound-induced nephrotoxicity.

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