Over 12 million people worldwide suffer from PKD, a genetic disorder that causes uncontrolled growth of cells lining tubules in the kidneys, and results in the formation of many, large fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys.
“Unfortunately, aside from kidney transplantation, there has been no cure for PKD, nor has there been a suitable drug treatment to slow its progression,” said Crews, associate professor of chemistry, molecular, cellular & developmental biology and pharmacology. “We hope that is about to change,” he said.
The mesh of Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCMs), current advances in chemistry and fundamental processes of developmental biology and health are a research focus for Crews. According to him, a roadblock in the path to TCMs as a source for new medical treatments is lack of understanding the biology and chemistry of how they work.
Triptolide is a potent, biologically active compound isolated from the medicinal ‘Thunder God Vine’ Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F. The TCM tea Lei Gong Teng made from this plant has been used for centuries, as a therapeutic against cancer, inflammation, and auto-immune diseases. Crews and colleagues showed that triptolide causes cell growth arrest in certain cell types.
Normal kidney tubule cells have a built in switch for regulating their growth — two proteins, PKD1 and PKD2, located on a bristle-like cilium that bends in response to fluid flow across the cell. During kidney development, cells destined to line a kidney tubule grow and divide until the tubule is formed, as sensed by fluid flow in the tubule. Fluid flow bends the primary cilium, giving a signal to stop cell growth. PKD is caused by a mutation in the PKD1 or PKD2 gene causing the cells to miss the “stop growing” signal, allowing them to keep growing, and thus generating a cyst.
In collaboration with Stefan Somlo, M.D., Chief of Nephrology at Yale School of Medicine, who discovered the PKD2 gene, triptolide was tested in a mouse model of PKD. Both fewer and smaller kidney cysts formed in mice lacking PKD1 when they were treated with therapeutic amounts of triptolide.
“Our research shows that triptolide, an active ingredient of the TCM Lei Gong Teng, markedly decreases cyst formation in a mouse model of this most common genetic lethal kidney disease,” Crews said. “Our results offer a novel therapeutic approach to this deadly disease and highlight the potential of TCM as pharmaceutical sources.”
Janet Rettig Emanuel | EurekAlert!
A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences
25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences