Genes may help protect kidneys from diabetes damage

June 20, 2000

TORONTO -- Ohio University scientists have identified genes that may be involved in protecting the kidneys of diabetics from damage, a first step in the development of a drug or therapy for millions of people who suffer from kidney failure as a result of the disease.

The research, presented June 22 at the Endocrine Society annual meeting in Toronto, pinpoints three genes that may play a role in diabetic kidney disease, which affects between 1.5 and 3 million Americans. To understand the roots of this common complication, scientists examined gene function in healthy and sick mice. Earlier studies at Ohio University's Edison Biotechnology Institute found a connection between growth hormone and diabetic kidney disease -- diabetic mice engineered without the growth hormone receptor didn't get kidney disease.

Researchers focused their studies on the genetic structure of these kidneys to find out why they had escaped damage. "We have to look at what genes growth hormone affects because you can't do away with growth hormone itself," said Karen Coschigano, an EBI scientist and lead author of the recent study. "We don't want to lose the good things that growth hormone does."

For this new study, researchers examined the damaged kidneys of diabetic mice, the healthy kidneys of normal mice and the healthy kidneys of diabetic mice lacking the growth hormone receptor. Scientists noticed that two genes at work in the third group were inactive in the normal mice and in the diabetic mice with kidney disease. And they identified a third gene that was inactive in the mice missing the growth hormone receptor - but active in the other two groups. The finding points to a possible genetic cause of the disease.

Knowing which genes are involved and how they work could be useful in therapy or diagnosis of kidney disease, Coschigano said. Scientists could activate protective genes, for example, or turn off the damage-causing gene.

"The overall idea would be to discover drugs that would regulate these genes," said John Kopchick, co-author of the study and Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar and professor of molecular and cellular biology.

"Potentially, we could give the diabetic person a recombinant protein derived from the gene as a drug, and if it's early enough, reverse the kidney damage or halt the progression," Coschigano said.

The genes also could help doctors track the health of a diabetic's kidney. "Instead of actually looking at the kidney to see if it's becoming less damaged, we could look at the change in the gene expression," she said.

Kidney disease, which impacts between 10 percent and 21 percent of the 15.7 million Americans with diabetes, often results in kidney failure, according to the American Diabetic Association. Tiny blood vessels in the kidneys that filter waste, chemicals and excess water from the blood become damaged and leaky. When the filtration system breaks down, patients require dialysis or kidney transplants to survive.

Though the study was conducted on mice, Coschigano notes that there is human evidence of the connection between growth hormone and kidney damage. People with acromegaly, a rare disease in which the body produces too much growth hormone, may have a higher incidence of diabetic kidney damage, she said.

In future studies, scientists hope to confirm the genes' roles in kidney health and explore how growth hormone is involved in the process.
-end-
The study was funded in part by the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, the State of Ohio's Eminent Scholar Program and Sensus Drug Development Corporation. The Edison Biotechnology Institute is a biomedical genetics institute at Ohio University and part of the Ohio Department of Development's Thomas Edison Program. Kopchick holds an appointment in the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Written by Andrea Gibson.

Attention editors, reporters: For a copy of the paper on which this news release is based contact Andrea Gibson, or Kelli Whitlock at 740-593-2868.

Contacts: Before June 26, Andrea Gibson, 740-597-2166, gibsona@ohio.edu;
after June 26, Karen Coschigano, 740-593-9661, coschigk@ohio.edu.


Ohio University

Related Kidney Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

Waistline matters in kidney disease
Does fat matter in kidney disease? The investigators found that all measures of higher abdominal fat content (including visceral fat, liver fat, or subcutaneous fat) and slower walk times were associated with increased levels of cardiometabolic risk factors in adults with non-dialysis dependent kidney disease.

Reducing urinary protein for patients with rare kidney disease slows kidney decline
New findings show that reducing the amount of protein in the urine of patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis can significantly slow declines in kidney function and extend time before patients' kidneys fail.

Antioxidant agent may prevent chronic kidney disease and Parkinson's disease
Researchers from Osaka University developed a novel dietary silicon-based antioxidant agent with renoprotective and neuroprotective effects.

Acute kidney injury and end stage kidney disease in severe COVID-19
Many COVID-19 patients experience hematuria, proteinuria and elevated serum creatinine concentration early in the course of the disease.

Genes tell a story about diabetic kidney disease
Studying Finnish genes leads to unique revelations about the development of a serious complication of diabetes, and informs an ongoing genomic study of a Singaporean cohort as part of Singapore's Diabetes Study in Nephropathy and other Microvascular Complications (DYNAMO).

New study provides insight into chronic kidney disease
Researchers have further analyzed a known signaling pathway they believe brings them one step closer to understanding the complex physiology of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), which might provide a path to new treatment options.

Predicting risk of chronic kidney disease
Data from about 5 million people (with and without diabetes) in 28 countries were used to develop equations to help identify people at increased five-year risk of chronic kidney disease, defined as reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).

A healthy diet may help prevent kidney disease
In an analysis of published studies, a healthy dietary pattern was associated with a 30% lower incidence of chronic kidney disease.

Is kidney failure a man's disease?
A new analysis of the ERA-EDTA Registry [1] reveals a striking gender difference in the incidence and prevalence of end-stage renal disease.

Chronic kidney disease: Everyone's concern
850 million people worldwide are affected by kidney disease. This worrying figure was published last June.

Read More: Kidney Disease News and Kidney Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.