Acute Care Edinburgh

Does activation of the endothelin system promote the transition of acute kidney injury to chronic kidney disease?

Funder: MRC. Value: £657,856.00

The kidneys are crucial for normal bodily function. During illness they may suffer and stop working properly. This acute kidney injury (AKI) can require dialysis and even lead to death. Those who survive are at risk of developing chronic kidney disease with its associated increased risk of heart disease. Currently, there are no treatments for AKI and little is known about the processes that cause it to turn into chronic kidney disease.

 We have shown that patients with AKI have higher levels of a chemical called endothelin in their blood and urine. Endothelin is a powerful chemical that causes blood vessels to constrict and can also cause inflammation. We propose that high levels of endothelin may contribute to the development of chronic kidney disease after AKI. We have shown in mice that blocking endothelin protects the kidney from chronic kidney disease after acute injury. In this project we will find out why endothelin blocking drugs protect the kidney in mice and examine the endothelin system in 100 people with AKI to see if the system is indeed activated after acute injury. Endothelin-blocking drugs are already available in the clinic and used to treat other diseases. If this project is successful, it will provide evidence to allow us to rapidly test these drugs in humans with AKI.

For further information please contact: Dr James Dear