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Blocking signal-transmitting cellular pores may prevent damage to kidneys
Date:11/15/2013

One of the most devastating side effects of diabetes is kidney failure, and one of the earliest signs of kidney damage is a disruption of the organ's filtering capacity. Diabetes patients who develop kidney failure must go on dialysis, seriously limiting their quality of life and placing them at significantly increased risk of death. The incidence of kidney disease is increasing with rising rates of obesity-associated type 2 diabetes, but very little progress has been made towards protecting the kidney's filter barrier during the past 50 years.

Now a group of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has identified a molecule that plays a key role in the breakdown of the kidney filter, presenting a potential therapeutic target for stopping the damage before it becomes irreversible. Their report will appear in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and is receiving early online release.

"Our study shows that blocking the ion channel TRPC5 may be a new treatment for diseases in which the kidney's filter barrier is damaged," says Anna Greka, MD, PhD, of the Division of Nephrology in the MGH Department of Medicine, who led the current study. "One in three Americans is at risk for developing chronic kidney disease from obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure; and kidney failure has been described as an emergent pandemic of our time."

TRPC5 is an ion channel, a pore in the cell membrane that transmits metabolic signals by allowing charged molecules in this case calcium to pass into or out of cells. Disrupted calcium signaling was suggested as a possible early event in damage to podocytes the cells that make up the kidney's filter barrier several decades ago, but the particular calcium channel that was involved had never been identified. Some families with a rare, inherited form of kidney disease were known to have activating mutations in a related calcium channel called TRPC6, which led Gre
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Contact: Mike Morrison
mdmorrison@partners.org
617-724-6425
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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