Jeremy Hughes' research focuses upon the role of a particular white blood cell called the macrophage in both kidney injury and healing.
The group is interested in the role of macrophages in the initiation, progression and resolution of inflammatory processes. Current areas of interests include:
Although the macrophage may be responsible for significant tissue injury, there is accumulating evidence that macrophages are also key players in the resolution of inflammation. Several of the group are clinical nephrologists and there is thus a particular interest in the role of macrophages in renal injury and repair. Factors that regulate the egress of macrophages from both inflamed and regenerating kidneys are currently unclear and these are active areas of study, eg macrophage involvement in the generation of new lymphatic vessels and the regulation of macrophage emigration via the lymphatic system. Macrophages are also key to the resolution of inflammation and scarring and this is studied in the context of renal regeneration. The aim is to understand more fully the diverse function of macrophages in renal disease with the goal of exploiting this for therapeutic gain.
A combination of in vitro and in vivo techniques is used to dissect macrophage function. Recent work has utilised a transgenic system for conditional macrophage ablation whilst experimental models used include peritonitis, pleurisy, renal ischaemia-reperfusion injury, irreversible and reversible ureteric obstruction and renal transplantation (Ms Lorna Marson runs the murine transplantation programme).
Kidneys are vulnerable to various kinds of injury such as progressive scarring, an acute fall in the flow of blood through the kidney or attack by the immune system. My research focuses upon the role of a particular white blood cell called the macrophage in both kidney injury and healing. In addition, we are interested in using macrophages derived from blood cells or stem cells that have been modified to become anti-inflammatory to reduce kidney injury and promote healing. Work is currently using experimental systems, but the aim is to eventually translate the ideas to a human context and develop novel therapies for renal disease.