Making kidneys more efficient in diabetics

Diabetes is a debilitating metabolic condition that affects the kidneys, among other organs, causing them to malfunction and eventually fail to perform their job in ridding the body of toxins. Kidneys clean blood in a process called glomerular filtration. But when too much or too little filtration occurs, the blood isn’t cleaned or dehydration results from water loss. Filtration is regulated by glomerular cell contraction.

Rong Ma, PhD, Associate Professor of Integrative Physiology, is searching for the reason that glomerular cells become impaired. Is it a result of Types I and II diabetes?

"When glomerular cells relax, filtration increases," explained Ma. "When the cells contract, filtration decreases. So what causes the impairment of the cell contraction in diabetes? We suspect it is a dysfunction of the ion channel TRPC6 (Transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily C, member 6). With hyperglycemia — high level of blood sugar — the number of TRPC6 channels is reduced, which decreases cell contraction and increases filtration in the kidneys in diabetes."

Eventually, a drug or molecular tool that could regulate expression level of TRPC6 could be administered, and the ravaging effects of diabetes on the kidneys could be reduced.

"We are still in the early stages of determining how to reduce the number of functional channels and increase kidney filtration, "Ma said. "But the results of our research could help give diabetes patients more effective treatment and reduce the negative effects of diabetes on the kidneys."


Recent News

Techstars Demo Day.
  • On Campus
|Dec 1, 2022

Techstars Demo Day brings innovation to the historic stockyards

For the last 13 weeks, the founders of 10 of the world’s most innovative startups have been in Fort Worth perfecting their new physical health technology. They are part of the world’s first physical health accelerator, and now they are ready to show the fruits of their labor. Techstars Demo D...
Dr. Sid O'bryant Award
  • Our People
|Dec 1, 2022

HSC named the winner of the D Magazines 2022 Achievement in Medical Research Award

The extensive research done by Dr. Sid O’Bryant and his team at the Institute of Translational Research has earned the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth the 2022 Medical Research Award by D Magazine. Dr. O’Bryant, the executive director of the ITR and a professor at t...
Dr. John Licciardone
  • Our People
|Nov 30, 2022

Key study results from HSC’s PRECISION Pain Research Registry published in JAMA Network Open

The Journal of the American Medical Association – Network Open has published findings from a recent HSC study about chronic lower back pain, race and the patient-physician relationship. The study revealed that Black patients reported worse outcomes for low back pain intensity and back-related d...
Ram flyer
  • Community
|Nov 23, 2022

Free pop-up medical, vision and dental clinic is just a week away

  The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth and Remote Area Medical – RAM® — a nonprofit provider of pop-up clinics that delivers free quality dental, vision and medical care to those in need — are bringing the free health care clinic to Dallas on Dec. 3 and 4....