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New breakthrough brings hope for kidney patients

17 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: A new study has revealed that certain cells contribute to kidney function decline, making them attractive targets for treatments against kidney failure.

The blood-filtering cells in the kidneys- called podocytes- are critical to kidney function, and kidney failure can occur when as little as about 20 percent to 30 percent of them are lost.

Marcus Moeller, MD, Bart Smeets, PhD, Katja Berger (RWTH University of Aachen, in Germany), and their colleagues looked to see if they could coax podocytes to be generated from putative kidney progenitor cells- termed parietal cells- as a potential treatment strategy for kidney failure.

Through experiments conducted in mice, the researchers found that podocytes cannot be renewed from parietal cells. In fact, after the loss of podocytes, parietal cells play a negative role by causing kidney scarring that contributes to progressive kidney function decline.

Moeller said this opens a very important new strategy to prevent loss of kidney function: by inhibiting the parietal cells from doing their destructive work

The researchers did, however, detect an additional but limited reserve of podocytes that are present at birth and become mature and functional filter cells by adulthood.

The study will be published in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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