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Marshall University research team publishes study on cell signaling mechanism

October 04, 2016

Researchers at Marshall University, the University of Toledo and New York Medical College, continuing their investigative work into the recently discovered signaling function of the sodium-potassium pump, have identified an important application of this discovery that could potentially lead to new treatment options for patients with kidney disease.

The study, "Attenuation of Na/K-ATPase Mediated Oxidant Amplification with pNaKtide Ameliorates Experimental Uremic Cardiomyopathy", was published today in Scientific Reports, an online journal from the publishers of Nature.

The findings of the study suggest that reduction of oxidant stress by introduction of the peptide, pNaKtide, can ameliorate experimental uremic cardiomyopathy, the cardiac disease which almost always complicates advanced renal failure. Although advanced renal failure requiring dialysis or transplantation affects only about one to two individuals per 1000 people in the United States, milder degrees of chronic renal disease are very common (25% of the adult population) and also appear to be associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

"Our data clearly showed that the peptide dramatically both prevented and reversed the development of experimental uremic cardiomyopathy in mice, "said Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean of the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and the study's senior author. "These findings suggest the possibility of our developing effective therapy for what has previously been untreatable. I would emphasize that the current study clearly establishes the signaling function of the sodium pump which was discovered by Zijian Xie, Ph.D. in the late 1990s as an important therapeutic target."

Dr. Zijian Xie is the director of the Marshall University Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and a professor of biomedical sciences at the School of Medicine.

"It is especially gratifying for me, a basic scientist, to see that our discovery about the signaling function of the sodium pump could have a real impact on human health and clinical medicine," Xie said. "Needless to say, there is still a long way to go to develop an effective drug against this new therapeutic target. Nevertheless, we are very excited about this new opportunity."
Researchers on the Marshall team included first author Jiang Liu, M.D., Ph.D., Muhammad Chaudhry, M.A., Yanling Yan, Ph.D., Komal Sodhi, M.D, Michael W. Dodrill, M.D., Ph.D. and students Xiaoliang Wang, Kyle Maxwell, Preeya T. Shah, Asad A. Khawaja, Rebecca Martin, and Adee El-Hamdani.

Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine

The Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is a community-based, Veterans Affairs-affiliated medical school dedicated to providing high-quality medical education and postgraduate training programs to foster a skilled physician workforce to meet the unique health care needs of West Virginia and Central Appalachia. The school seeks to develop centers of excellence in clinical care, including primary care in rural underserved areas, focused and responsive programs of biomedical science graduate study, biomedical and clinical science research, academic scholarship and public service outreach. For more information, visit

Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research

MIIR is Marshall University's key vehicle for advancing regional economic development. The institute's scientists are developing a focused program of biotechnology research dedicated to exploring new treatments for cancer and heart and kidney disease, producing patentable scientific breakthroughs and creating new businesses based on those discoveries. Learn more at

Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine

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