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Researcher to study causes of kidney disease

Oct. 29, 2013 College News - The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has received a four-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to study actions of protein called endothelin-1 (ET-1) in the progression of glomerular kidney diseases.

Andrey Sorokin, PhD, Professor of Medicine (Nephrology), is the primary investigator of the grant.

Dr. Sorokin will study the molecular causes of glomerulosclerosis, which occurs when the mesangial cells (located around the tiny blood vessels inside the glomerulus) are not functioning normally. Earlier work by Dr. Sorokin’s team identified a novel signaling pathway regulated by ET-1, the protein which plays an essential role in this type of kidney disease.  When ET-1 production increases, the mesangial cells become dysfunctional, causing decrease in renal function, and, often, kidney failure.

In this project, Dr. Sorokin’s team will study the signaling pathways that lead to the dysfunction of mesangial cells using unique genetically engineered rat strains.

Understanding the mechanisms of ET-1 induced renal diseases will broaden our overall understanding of kidney function; this study will provide valuable information that could lead to development of potential therapeutic targets.

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