Acute kidney damage spreads over time, study finds

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Acute kidney injuries often lead to significant cell death or necrotic injury within the kidney, with substantial repercussions for organ function and long-term health.

A groundbreaking study from Aarhus University has uncovered new insights into how this injury unfolds and spreads, indicating a potentially critical window for intervention that could prevent further kidney damage and long-term chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The study is detailed in Nature Communications.

Insights into Acute Kidney Injury

Assistant Professor Ina Maria Schiessl and her team at the Department of Biomedicine have discovered that the damage from acute kidney injury isn’t confined to the immediate aftermath of the incident but continues to propagate into previously unaffected areas over several days, leading to extensive structural damage.

Acute kidney injury is a notable risk factor for chronic kidney disease, with patients experiencing up to an 8-times higher likelihood of developing chronic conditions even after apparent full recovery.

Impact and Importance

Chronic kidney disease currently affects over 10% of the global population, imposing a substantial burden on healthcare systems and patients alike.

The progress from acute to chronic kidney disease is not fully understood, and no definitive interventions exist to arrest this progression.

The study reveals the potential of a previously unknown time window for intervention post acute kidney injury, providing hope for preventing the advancement into chronic kidney disease, thereby mitigating the severe outcomes associated with it.

Potential for Future Interventions

The propagation of injury and the accumulation of necrotic cell material in the kidney over time have been clearly documented in this study, setting the stage for future research to determine how the progression to loss of function and chronic kidney disease can be halted by targeting or removing this necrotic material post-injury.

This has the potential to uncover new therapeutic strategies and interventions to halt the progression of acute kidney injury to chronic kidney disease.


The work undertaken by Aarhus University is pivotal in deepening our understanding of the dynamics of acute kidney injury and its longer-term implications.

By identifying the manner and timeframe in which the injury propagates, the study highlights a crucial opportunity for intervention, opening avenues for future research aimed at mitigating the progression from acute kidney injury to chronic kidney disease.

The findings are a crucial step towards developing strategies to combat the long-term impacts of acute kidney damages on the organ, and they pave the way for further explorative studies on the long-term effects of such injuries on the kidneys.

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 recurrence of kidney stones, and eating nuts linked to a lower risk of chronic kidney disease and death.

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