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Link between chronic kidney disease and oxygen-deprived tissue
Date:12/18/2007

PHILADELPHIA- Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered how low-oxygen conditions can worsen chronic kidney disease (CKD). The key player is a protein called hypoxia-inducible-factor (HIF-1) that, as its name suggests, is active when the kidney does not get enough oxygen, a condition known as hypoxia. The findings appear in a December issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

CKD afflicts 20 million Americans who have hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and other conditions. The kidney has less oxygen reserves than other organs to start, and CKD is associated with less capillary blood flow, reducing oxygenation even further. As CKD progresses, kidneys become full of fibrous tissue and cannot filter wastes out of blood or regulate body salt. Eventually kidney dialysis, a form of renal replacement therapy, may be needed to carry out these processes. Ultimately, the clinical goal is to optimize treatment to halt or delay the progression of CKD by better understanding its molecular underpinnings.

"Fibrosis worsens when the kidney becomes hypoxic," states lead author Volker Haase, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Renal Electrolyte and Hypertension Division. "We found that HIF-1 is more stable when oxygen is in short supply and that HIF-1 causes kidney epithelial cells to regress to a less-differentiated cell type. This transition is driven by HIF-1, a protein that turns on many genes that promote the synthesis of fibrous connective tissue, thus interfering with the kidneys normal filtering function," says Haase.

The study was conducted using mice that had been engineered to turn off expression of HIF-1 (a critical subunit of HIF-1) in their kidneys. One kidney from each mouse was put under oxygen stress by obstructing the ureter, and the other kidney served as a control. As long as HIF-1a was silenced, fibrosis was reduced in the oxygen-deprived kidney. This demonstrated that HIF-1 p
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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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