NDT-EDUCATIONAL

Preventing damage to kidneys by blocking signal-transmitting cellular pores

One of the most devastating side effects of diabetes is kidney failure, and one of the earliest signs of kidney damage is a disruption of the organ's filtering capacity. Diabetes patients who develop kidney failure must go on dialysis, seriously limiting their quality of life and placing them at significantly increased risk of death. The incidence of kidney disease is increasing with rising rates of obesity-associated type 2 diabetes, but very little progress has been made towards protecting the kidney's filter barrier during the past 50 years.

Now a group of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has identified a molecule that plays a key role in the breakdown of the kidney filter, presenting a potential therapeutic target for stopping the damage before it becomes irreversible. Their report will appear in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and is receiving early online release.

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