Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breakdown of kidney's ability to clean its own filters likely causes disease

31.01.2008
The kidney actively cleans its most selective filter to keep it from clogging with blood proteins, scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reveal in a new study.

Researchers showed that breakdown of this self-cleaning feature can make kidneys more vulnerable to dysfunction and disease.

"We speculate that defects of this clearance mechanism can leave things on the filter that can damage it," says senior author Andrey Shaw, M.D., Emil R. Unanue Professor of Immunobiology in Pathology and Immunology. "This could include autoimmune antibodies that mistakenly target the body's own tissues like those that occur in the disease lupus."

The study appears in the Jan. 22 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Despite extensive knowledge of the structure of the kidney, several scientific controversies linger over how the organ does its complicated and essential job of filtering wastes from the blood for disposal without simultaneously discarding too much water or key blood proteins in the urine. Understanding how these tricky tasks are accomplished is essential to developing new treatments for kidney disease and renal failure, which are among the top ten causes of death in the United States.

Like many mechanical filtering systems, the kidney passes the blood through a series of progressively finer screens. After passing through a structure known as the glomerular basement membrane (GBM), fluid and serum proteins must finally pass through the most selective filter of the kidney, which is comprised of specialized epithelial cells called podocytes. These cells form a web-like barrier to the passage of large serum proteins into the urine.

"The kidney screens 150 to 200 liters of blood daily, and we were curious as to how the kidney keeps the filter from clogging up," says first author Shreeram Akilesh, an M.D./Ph.D. student. "The two most common blood serum and plasma proteins are albumin, which helps regulate blood volume and convey a number of different substances around the body, and immunoglobin G (IgG), a type of immune system antibody. Because they're so common, we figured they would be among the most likely to get stuck on the filter, and set out to look for proteins that help clear them."

Researchers looked for proteins made in podocytes that could bind to albumin and IgG, reasoning that such proteins likely provide the "handles" the podocytes need to grab proteins and clear them from the filter.

A protein known as FcRn was high on the list of likely suspects. Akilesh had studied FcRn previously in the laboratory of coauthor Derry C. Roopenian, Ph.D., professor at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. Prior research there and in other laboratories had revealed that FcRn binds to both IgG and albumin and is present in human podocytes.

After confirming that the FcRn protein also is made in mouse podocytes, scientists then asked if FcRn was responsible for clearing IgG antibody from the filter. To do this, they measured the retention of a radioactive tracer in the kidneys of normal mice and in mice where the gene for FcRn had been disabled. Mice lacking FcRn had difficulty clearing antibody from the kidney.

When researchers studied the mice lacking FcRn for longer periods of time, they saw evidence that antibodies were accumulating in the kidney.

In another experiment, researchers gave the mice injections of large quantities of protein to saturate the clearance system. They followed those injections with what would normally have been a harmlessly small dose of an antibody potentially toxic to the kidney. The mice developed kidney damage as a result. Researchers believe this was because they couldn't clear the toxic antibody from the GBM quickly enough.

"This is the first clear demonstration that the filter system in the kidney isn't just a passive mechanical filter, it's actually involved in its own maintenance," says Akilesh. "It also provides us with a nice mechanism for explaining how the normal function of this filter may be breaking down in ways that leads to kidney disease and damage."

To follow up, Shaw plans to look for other podocyte proteins involved in filter clearance.

Michael C. Purdy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New discovery: Common jellyfish is actually two species

22.11.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers discover specific tumor environment that triggers cells to metastasize

22.11.2017 | Life Sciences

A material with promising properties

22.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>