Sepsis is a leading cause of acute kidney injury (AKI) and mortality in children. Understanding the development of pediatric sepsis and its effects on the kidney are critical in uncovering new therapies. The goal of this study was to characterize the development of sepsis-induced AKI in the clinically relevant cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) model of peritonitis in rat pups 17–18 days old. CLP produced severe sepsis demonstrated by time-dependent increase in serum cytokines, NO, markers of multiorgan injury, and renal microcirculatory hypoperfusion. Although blood pressure and heart rate remained unchanged after CLP, renal blood flow (RBF) was decreased 61% by 6 h. Renal microcirculatory analysis showed the number of continuously flowing cortical capillaries decreased significantly from 69 to 48% by 6 h with a 66% decrease in red blood cell velocity and a 57% decline in volumetric flow. The progression of renal microcirculatory hypoperfusion was associated with peritubular capillary leakage and reactive nitrogen species generation. Sham adults had higher mean arterial pressure (118 vs. 69 mmHg), RBF (4.2 vs. 1.1 ml·min−1·g−1), and peritubular capillary velocity (78% continuous flowing capillaries vs. 69%) compared with pups. CLP produced a greater decrease in renal microcirculation in pups, supporting the notion that adult models may not be the most appropriate for studying pediatric sepsis-induced AKI. Lower RBF and reduced peritubular capillary perfusion in the pup suggest the pediatric kidney may be more susceptible to AKI than would be predicted using adults models
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