Tissue damage by oxidative stress is a key pathogenic mechanism in various diseases, including AKI and CKD. Thus, early detection of oxidative tissue damage is important. Using a tRNA-specific modified nucleoside 1-methyladenosine (m1A) antibody, we show that oxidative stress induces a direct conformational change in tRNA structure that promotes subsequent tRNA fragmentation and occurs much earlier than DNA damage. In variousmodels of tissue damage (ischemic reperfusion, toxic injury, and irradiation), the levels of circulating tRNA derivatives increased rapidly. In humans, the levels of circulating tRNA derivatives also increased under conditions of acute renal ischemia, even before levels of other known tissue damage markers increased. Notably, the level of circulating free m1A correlated with mortality in the general population (n=1033) over a mean follow-up of 6.7 years. Compared with healthy controls, patients with CKD had higher levels of circulating free m1A, which were reduced by treatment with pitavastatin (2 mg/d; n=29). Therefore, tRNA damage reflects early oxidative stress damage, and detection of tRNA damage may be a useful tool for identifying organ damage and forming a clinical prognosis.
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