Date Published: 5 October 2010
Podocytes (cells in the kidney) and treatment of kidney failure in diabetics
New research at Bristol University (south-west England) has found that a cell in the kidney called a podocyte could be the key to understanding why kidney failure in diabetes occurs. The study led by Dr Richard Coward, in the School of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bristol, is published in Cell Metabolism and funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).
Diabetes related kidney disease had previously been thought to be mainly due to the high levels of sugar in the blood damaging the small blood vessels in the kidney. However, the researchers have found evidence that a cell in the kidney called the podocyte is important in the development of kidney failure in diabetes and that this is not due to the effects of high glucose on podocytes, but rather to a lack of sensitivity to the hormone insulin (which is important for regulating blood sugar levels).
Dr Richard Coward, MRC Clinician Scientist and Consultant Senior Lecturer in the Academic Renal Unit based at Southmead Hospital, said:
" The number of people diagnosed with diabetes is predicted to increase greatly in the future due to the global epidemic of type-2 diabetes.
Treatments that improve the sensitivity of this cell to insulin may be of great benefit in treating this major global healthcare problem."
Source: Bristol University, England (UK) - Press Release.