April 17, 2013

‘Longevity’ gene aids kidney survival

A gene associated with cell survival and longevity may protect the kidney from acute injury.

Acute kidney injury – a rapid loss of kidney function – has a high mortality rate and contributes to end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis. Its incidence and prognosis varies with age: younger patients are more resistant to acute kidney injury.

(Wellcome Images)

In a mouse model of acute kidney injury after ischemia (inadequate blood supply), Chuan-Ming Hao, M.D., Ph.D., research assistant professor of Medicine, and colleagues found that older mice suffer substantial kidney damage, but younger mice have only mild renal injury. The researchers report in the March issue of Kidney International that young mice express higher levels of the enzyme SIRT1, an age-dependent cell protective factor, in the kidney compared to older mice. A SIRT1 activator drug improved renal function after ischemia in the older mice, and mice with a genetic deletion of one copy of the SIRT1 gene had more kidney damage compared to wild-type mice.

The studies suggest that SIRT 1 is a kidney survival factor and potential therapeutic target for acute kidney injury.

This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (DK079341), the National Basic Research Program of China and the Natural Science Foundation of China.