Acute kidney injury (AKI) is one of the most important risk factors for chronic and progressive kidney disease, leading to end-stage kidney failure. Tubule epithelial regeneration leads to the resolution of renal failure in AKI. Failure of tubule epithelial regeneration leads to concomitant hypoxia from loss of microcirculation, which serves as a critical factor leading to chronic kidney disease. In this issue of the JCI, Li et al. show that hypoxia activates the stress-responsive transcription factor FoxO3. Increased FoxO3 protein abundance leads to alterations in tubular epithelial autophagy and metabolism, highlighting an important mechanism causing permanent renal damage even after an acute injury.
Xiangchen Gu, Archana Raman, Katalin Susztak