Clues revealed to cause of deadly kidney disease in newborns

October 24, 2011

Babies born with autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) often develop kidney failure because they have very large kidneys filled with tiny cysts. Even with excellent medical care, about 30% die shortly after birth. New research now provides clues into how gene defects may cause this condition, which occurs in 1 out of 20,000 newborns. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN), a publication of the American Society of Nephrology.

Mutations in a gene named PKHD1 cause ARPKD, but it's not clear how. Jason Bakeberg and Christopher Ward, ChB, PhD (Mayo Clinic) led a team that bred mice to have a small tag inserted into this gene. This tag allowed the researchers to follow the activities of the protein made by the gene, called fibrocystin.

"We found that small vesicles, termed exosome-like vesicles (ELVs), present in urine and other bodily fluids have abundant fibrocystin on their surface. This has allowed us to follow ELVs as they interact with primary cilia, or small hair-like structures that project into the urine from cells within the kidney's tubules," said Dr. Ward. "We believe that ELVs are involved in transporting a range of signals through urine and that ELV interactions with cilia are central to this signaling."

The findings may help investigators to understand how PKHD1 gene mutations cause ARPKD and to develop tests for the disease. "For example we are working on urine-based tests for polycystic based on the use of ELVs," said Dr. Ward.

More information: The article, entitled "Epitope-tagged Pkhd1 Tracks the Processing, Secretion, and Localization of Fibrocystin," will appear online on Monday, October 24, 2011, doi:10.1681/ASN.2010111173

Related Stories

Could patients' own kidney cells cure kidney disease?

July 27, 2011

Approximately 60 million people across the globe have chronic kidney disease, and many will need dialysis or a transplant. Breakthrough research published in the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN) indicates ...

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.