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Kidney damage and high blood pressure
Date:9/22/2011

Bethesda, Md. (Sept. 22, 2011) The kidney performs several vital functions. It filters blood, removes waste products from the body, balances the body's fluids, and releases hormones that regulate blood pressure. A number of diseases and conditions can damage the kidney's filtration apparatus, such as diabetes and immune disorders. This damage leads to a condition called nephrotic syndrome, which is characterized by protein in the urine, high cholesterol and triglycerides, and swelling (edema). People with nephrotic syndrome retain salt and water in their bodies and develop swelling and high blood pressure as a result.

Scientists have now begun to understand kidney damage on a cellular level and how the activity of certain molecules in damaged kidneys contributes to salt and water retention in nephrotic syndrome. Several new insights in this area of research will be presented at the7th International Symposium on Aldosterone and the ENaC/Degenerin Family of Ion Channels, being held September 18-22 in Pacific Grove, Calif. The meeting is sponsored by the American Physiological Society.

Faulty Filtration

The kidneys are marvels of filtration, processing roughly 150 to 200 quarts of blood each day through tiny structures called nephrons. There are about 1 million nephrons per kidney, and each nephron consists of a filtering unit of blood vessels called a glomerulus, which is attached to a tubule. Filtered blood enters the tubule, where various substances are either added to or removed from the filtrate as necessary, and most of the filtered sodium and water is removed. The filtrate that exits the tubule is excreted as urine.

In nephrotic syndrome, a damaged filtration barrier allows substances that are not normally filtered to appear in the filtrate. One of these substances is the protein plasminogen, which is converted in kidney tubules to the protease plasmin. In their research, Thomas R. Kleyman, Professor of Medicine and
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Contact: Donna Krupa
dkrupa@the-aps.org
301-634-7209
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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