Insulin is key to kidney disease

A form of kidney disease may result from defective insulin signaling, challenging conventional wisdom

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Oct 4, 2010
Diabetic kidney disease likely results from defective insulin signaling in the kidneys, contradicting long-standing suspicions, according to findings appearing online today (October 5) in Cell Metabolism.
A renal biopsy showing nodular glomerulosclerosis
in a case of diabetic nephropathy.

Image: Wikimedia commons,
Doc.mari
Scientists have long attributed this type of kidney disease -- the leading cause of renal failure -- to high glucose levels in the blood and defects in the kidney microvasculature.The study "suggests there's a direct effect of insulin" on epithelial cells in the kidney, "which is really a new idea," said nephrologist linkurl:Thomas Coffman;http://medicine.duke.edu/faculty/details/0117590 of Duke University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. "I'm sure it will be a highly cited paper."Diabetes causes numerous health problems, including a form of kidney disease known as diabetic nephropathy (DN). DN is characterized by protein in the urine, enlarged kidneys, and abnormalities in the glomeruli, specialized...
The ScientistThe ScientistG.I. Welsh, et al., "Insulin signaling to the glomerular podocyte is critical for normal kidney function," Cell Metabolism, 12:329-40, 2010.



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