Ciclopirox olamine induces ferritinophagy and reduces cyst burden in polycystic kidney disease

Academic Article


  • Despite the recent launch of tolvaptan, the search for safer polycystic kidney disease (PKD) drugs continues. Ciclopirox (CPX) or its olamine salt (CPX-O) is contained in a number of commercially available antifungal agents. CPX is also reported to possess anticancer activity. Several mechanisms of action have been proposed, including chelation of iron and inhibition of iron-dependent enzymes. Here, we show that CPX-O inhibited in vitro cystogenesis of primary human PKD cyst-lining epithelial cells cultured in a 3D collagen matrix. To assess the in vivo role of CPX-O, we treated PKD mice with CPX-O. CPX-O reduced the kidney-to-body weight ratios of PKD mice. The CPX-O treatment was also associated with decreased cell proliferation, decreased cystic area, and improved renal function. Ferritin levels were markedly elevated in cystic kidneys of PKD mice, and CPX-O treatment reduced renal ferritin levels. The reduction in ferritin was associated with increased ferritinophagy marker nuclear receptor coactivator 4, which reversed upon CPX-O treatment in PKD mice. Interestingly, these effects on ferritin appeared independent of iron. These data suggest that CPX-O can induce ferritin degradation via ferritinophagy, which is associated with decreased cyst growth progression in PKD mice. Most importantly these data indicate that CPX-O has the potential to treat autosomal dominant PKD.
  • Published In

  • JCI insight  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Radadiya PS; Thornton MM; Puri RV; Yerrathota S; Dinh-Phan J; Magenheimer B; Subramaniam D; Tran PV; Zhu H; Bolisetty S
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 8