Research shows a new cause of chronic kidney disease

Credit: Unsplash+

A groundbreaking study led by researchers at Columbia University has shed new light on Immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy, a common kidney disease.

The research suggests that the origins of this disease likely extend beyond the kidney itself, possibly rooted in the body’s immune system.

IgA nephropathy is notoriously challenging to diagnose, typically requiring a kidney biopsy—a procedure where a small piece of kidney tissue is removed and examined.

The difficulty in diagnosing this disease, coupled with a limited understanding of its causes, has hindered the development of targeted treatments.

To advance the understanding of this disease, the Columbia research team spearheaded a collaborative effort that spanned four continents, involving nearly 200 scientists and clinicians from over 100 institutions.

They gathered and analyzed blood samples from around 40,000 participants, both from patients diagnosed with IgA nephropathy and from those without the disease. This massive undertaking represents the largest genetic study of IgA nephropathy to date.

The researchers’ analysis revealed 16 new genetic locations associated with the disease, significantly broadening the understanding of its genetic underpinnings.

These genes are primarily involved in the production of IgA antibodies, indicating that the regulation of these antibodies may play a crucial role in the disease’s development.

This discovery not only deepens the scientific community’s understanding of IgA nephropathy but also opens up new avenues for its detection and treatment.

For example, the study has led to the development of a genetic risk profile that could help identify which patients are at higher risk of progressing to kidney failure.

Furthermore, the identification of proteins associated with the newly discovered genes provides new targets for potential drug development.

The study also pointed to two existing drugs, previously studied for other conditions, that might be effective in treating IgA nephropathy.

Krzysztof Kiryluk, the lead author of the study, emphasized the potential of these genetic findings to enhance the success rate of drug development.

He expressed hope that pharmaceutical companies would be motivated by these results to pursue new therapies tailored to combat this disease.

This breakthrough highlights the importance of genetic research in understanding complex diseases like IgA nephropathy.

By shifting the focus to the immune system and genetic factors, this study not only challenges existing notions about the disease’s origins but also paves the way for innovative treatments that could significantly improve the lives of those affected.

The insights gained from this extensive study, published in Nature Genetics, represent a significant step forward in the battle against kidney disease, offering new hope for patients and healthcare providers alike.

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

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.