Making kidneys more efficient in diabetics

August 2, 2013

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."

 

Diana Cervantes. Assistant Professor Biostatistics & Epidemiology
Dr. Diana Cervantes named among Fort Worth’s ‘most influential’ for public health service during the pandemic

By Sally Crocker Dr. Diana Cervantes has spent the last year keeping people informed and updated on all things coronavirus, and now she’s being recognized as one of Fort Worth Inc.’s “400 Most Influential People” for helping protect the community’s health during the pandemic. Dr....Read more

Jun 8, 2021

Opal Lee photo by Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Celebrating Juneteenth

By Diane Smith-Pinckney On June 19 1865, Major General Gordan Granger marched into Galveston with a critical message: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”  This was the opening se...Read more

Jun 8, 2021

Dr. Scott Walters
The realities of ‘breaking bad’ and how one HSC researcher is attacking the opioid crisis

By Sally Crocker He didn’t know it at the time, but when Dr. Scott Walters was growing up in San Diego in the mid 1980s, a next-door neighbor was concealing a homemade meth lab just across the fence and mere steps away from his bedroom window. For quite some time, concerned parents in his fa...Read more

Jun 8, 2021

MET Building at UNTHSC
HSC Health Diabetes Education Service Merits ADA Recognition

The prestigious American Diabetes Association (ADA) Education Recognition Certificate for a quality diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) service was recently awarded to the HSC Health Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Program. ADA believes that this service offers high...Read more

Jun 8, 2021