Kidney's Self Healing Micro Antennas Discovered
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08 October 2009
Cilia, the hair–like structures on kidney cells, increases their length to amplify the signals they send at vital stages of organ repair
Researchers in Australia may have discovered the controls that may help doctors improve the kidney repair process in human beings.
A study led by James Deane, researcher at the Centre for Inflammatory Disease at the Monash Medical Centre, has revealed for the first time how kidney repair processes are controlled by antenna like structures found on the organ cells.
The findings would help explain the cause of polycystic kidney disease–enlarged kidneys containing many cysts–a potentially fatal condition, reports IANS quoting a Monash press release.
“We have shown for the first time that the hair–like structures on kidney cells, called cilia, change their length in response to injury in human patients, growing up to four times their original length in the later stages of kidney repair,” Deane said.
The research has revealed that these hair–like structures are antennas and the increases in their length amplify the signals they send to kidney cells at vital stages of repair.
“We think this is how they turn off the repair process when it is complete and allow the kidney to start working normally again,” Deane added.
If the switching on and off the repair process is not properly controlled, rapidly reproducing cells will distort the tubes of the kidney and prevent them from functioning properly, which is what appears to happen in people that have polycystic kidney disease, a condition which is currently untreatable.
“We hope this work will lead to new ways of treating both kidney injury and polycystic kidney disease,” Deane said in a statement issued by Monash.
The findings have appeared in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.