Acute kidney injury (AKI) causes over 1 million deaths worldwide every year. AKI is now recognized as a major risk factor in the development and progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Diabetes is the main cause of CKD as well. Renal fibrosis and inflammation are hallmarks in kidney diseases. Various cytokines contribute to the progression of renal diseases; thus, many drugs that specifically block cytokine function are designed for disease amelioration. Numerous studies showed IL-20 functions as a pro-inflammatory mediator to regulate cytokine expression in several inflammation-mediated diseases. In this review, we will outline the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the pathogenesis of AKI and CKD. We also discuss the role of IL-20 in kidney diseases and provide a potential therapeutic approach of IL-20 blockade for treating renal diseases.
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