Component of citrus fruits found to block the formation of kidney cysts

A new study published today in British Journal of Pharmacology has identified that a component of grapefruit and other citrus fruits, naringenin, successfully blocks the formation of kidney cysts.

Known as , this is an inherited disorder which leads to the loss of , and the need for dialysis. Few treatment options are currently available.

The team of scientists from Royal Holloway University, St George's, University of London and Kingston University London used a simple, single-celled amoeba to identify that naringenin regulates the PKD2 protein responsible for polycystic and as a result, blocks formation of cysts.

"This discovery provides an important step forward in understanding how polycystic kidney disease may be controlled," said Professor Robin Williams from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway.

"In the study, we have demonstrated how effective the amoeba Dictyostelium is in the discovery of new treatments and their targets. Having previously applied the same method of testing in our work into epilepsy and bipolar treatments, it is clear that this new approach could help us reduce reliance on animal testing and provide major improvements."

To test how this discovery could apply in treatments, the team used a mammalian kidney cell-line, and triggered the formation of cysts in these cells. They were then able to block the formation of the cysts by adding naringenin and saw that when levels of the PKD2 protein were reduced in the , so was the block in cyst formation, confirming that the effect was connected.

Dr Mark Carew, from the School of Pharmacy and Chemistry at Kingston University, said: "Further investigation is underway to understand the action of naringenin at the molecular level. This work will entail looking at the function of the PKD2 protein as a cell growth regulator."

"Indeed, this study provides a good example of how chemicals identified in plants can help us develop new drugs for the treatment of disease," added Professor Debbie Baines from St George's, University of London.

"Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease affects between 1 in 10 people on dialysis and 1 in 8 with a . Kidney Research UK welcomes this publication that may provide hope for a future new treatment for polycystic kidney disease, alongside its own on-going research focusing on tackling this common genetic kidney disease," said Elaine Davies, Head of Research Operations at Kidney Research UK.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New drug target for kidney disease discovered

Apr 26, 2011

Two discoveries at UC Santa Barbara point to potential new drug therapies for patients with kidney disease. The findings are published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Recommended for you

Chikungunya fever identified in the United States

31 minutes ago

(HealthDay)—Chikungunya fever is being seen in travelers returning to the United States from affected regions and should be considered as a diagnosis for febrile travelers, according to an ideas and opinions ...

Boost in quest for TB breath test

3 hours ago

A simple breath test may one day show whether someone has a strain of tuberculosis that will respond to a frontline antibiotic, or a drug-resistant type, scientists said Tuesday.

Three more dead from Legionnaire's disease in Spain

3 hours ago

Three more people have died from Legionnaire's disease in Catalonia in northeastern Spain, officials said Tuesday, bringing to seven the death toll from the lung infection in the region in just over a week.

User comments