Scientists find new treatment for kidney disease

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A protein known for its role in treating cardiovascular diseases could potentially provide a new avenue for treating chronic kidney disease, according to a study from Aarhus University in Denmark.

Published in the journal Kidney International, the study reveals that this protein, called PCSK9, can counteract a mechanism in the kidneys that reabsorbs proteins, suggesting a novel treatment approach for kidney diseases.

PCSK9 Protein and Kidney Disease

The kidneys are responsible for filtering blood, removing waste and toxins, and reintroducing necessary substances like sugar and amino acids back into the bloodstream.

When kidneys fail, harmful substances can build up in the body, leading to issues like fluid retention, poisoning, and a heightened risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Over 10% of adults in Denmark live with chronic kidney disease, making this discovery particularly important.

Kathrin Weyer, an Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University and one of the researchers behind the study, explained,

“We have found that PCSK9, which influences the cholesterol level in the blood and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, has completely new and unexpected effects in the kidneys.”

The research team discovered that PCSK9 can regulate a kidney receptor involved in controlling the amount of protein excreted in the urine.

This may offer a way to treat patients whose kidneys are overloaded and have an accumulation of protein in their urine, a condition called proteinuria, which is a crucial risk factor for developing chronic kidney disease.

Potential New Kidney Disease Treatment

PCSK9 is already a recognized therapeutic target in the medical community, particularly for treating cardiovascular patients with elevated cholesterol levels.

This raises the question of whether PCSK9 inhibitors could be repurposed for treating kidney diseases, a prospect that Weyer and her team intend to investigate further.

“Chronic kidney disease is a growing problem both domestically and globally. Therefore, new treatment options are necessary.

We demonstrate a new molecular mechanism by which PCSK9 affects the development of proteinuria. This mechanism has not been previously known,” Weyer explained.

The researchers hope their study will pave the way for additional research to ascertain whether PCSK9 inhibition could be beneficial for treating kidney diseases.

“If it turns out that it actually enhances treatment, then within a relatively short period, a completely new form of therapy can be offered to kidney patients,” said Weyer.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about how to protect your kidneys from diabetes, and drinking coffee could help reduce the risk of kidney injury.

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about foods that may prevent the recurrence of kidney stones, and eating nuts linked to lower risk of chronic kidney disease and death.

The study was published in Kidney International.

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