Elevated plasma levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) are documented in patients with sepsis and levels positively correlate with disease severity and mortality. Our prior work demonstrated that PAI-1 in plasma is positively associated with acute kidney injury (AKI) in septic patients and mice. The objective of this study was to determine if PAI-1 is causally related to AKI and worse sepsis outcomes using a clinically-relevant and age-appropriate murine model of sepsis. Sepsis was induced by cecal slurry (CS)-injection to wild-type (WT, C57BL/6) and PAI-1 knockout (KO) mice at young (5–9 months) and old (18–22 months) age. Survival was monitored for at least 10 days or mice were euthanized for tissue collection at 24 or 48 h post-insult. Contrary to our expectation, PAI-1 KO mice at old age were significantly more sensitive to CS-induced sepsis compared to WT mice (24% vs. 65% survival, p = 0.0037). In comparison, loss of PAI-1 at young age had negligible effects on sepsis survival (86% vs. 88% survival, p = 0.8106) highlighting the importance of age as a biological variable. Injury to the kidney was the most apparent pathological consequence and occurred earlier in aged PAI-1 KO mice. Coagulation markers were unaffected by loss of PAI-1, suggesting thrombosis-independent mechanisms for PAI-1-mediated protection. In summary, although high PAI-1 levels are clinically associated with worse sepsis outcomes, loss of PAI-1 rendered mice more susceptible to kidney injury and death in a CS-induced model of sepsis using aged mice. These results implicate PAI-1 as a critical factor in the resolution of sepsis in old age.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1330433
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2024 Bruno, Mukherjee, Sturgill, Cornea, Yeh, Hawk, Saito and Starr.


  • aging
  • biological variables
  • cecal slurry
  • kidney injury
  • PAI-1
  • sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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