Health Discoveries in General Health News

Protein could offer clues about kidney condition

December 13, 2010
A protein that compromises the kidney's ability to filter may offer clues to potential treatment for nephrotic syndrome.

Nephrotic syndrome is characterized by an excessive amount of protein in the urine, low blood-protein levels, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and swelling. It can be caused by a range of conditions including diabetic nephropathy, infections, drug reactions and immune disorders.

The research by scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham was published in the December issue of Nature Medicine.

"This is a major breakthrough in understanding the development and treatment of kidney disease associated with proteinuria, the leakage of protein in the urine,” said Dr. Sumant Singh Chugh, an associate professor of medicine at the university.

The researchers found in laboratory tests that the protein Angiopoietin-like 4 may be over-produced in podocytes, or cells in the glomerular filter, which cleans the blood to produce urine. When this occurs, the kidney's filtering action is compromised.

The Division of Kidney Diseases and Hypertension at both the North Shore University Hospital and the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, the research hospitals of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, have comprehensive medical services and research programs on both diabetic and polycystic kidney disease.
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