Scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, have discovered that a natural product found in grapefruit can prevent kidney cysts from forming.
Naringenin, which is also present in other citrus fruits, has been found to successfully block the formation of kidney cysts, an effect that occurs in polycystic kidney disease, by regulating the PKD2 protein responsible for the condition. With few treatments currently available, symptoms include high blood pressure and loss of kidney function, and lead to the need for dialysis.
World Kidney Day, which is being marked across the globe tomorrow (13th March), aims to raise awareness of the importance of kidneys and the risk factors for kidney disease. The discovery of the benefits of naringenin could prove to be a vital step forward in the future treatment and prevention of kidney disease.
Professor Robin Williams, from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, said: "This discovery is vital in helping us to understand how polycystic kidney disease may be controlled and ultimately treated. Kidney disease is a debilitating condition that can be fatal and finding a treatment is a truly urgent health priority."
The team of researchers also included scientists from St George's, University of London, and Kingston University London.
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