October 28, 2008

Study IDs Cell Changes Affecting Dialysis

Spanish scientists say they've identified cell changes that cause one treatment for kidney failure to eventually become ineffective.

Patients with diseased kidneys traditionally need to attend a dialysis clinic to have their blood cleaned through a special filter. The treatment requires three regular clinic visits per week, with each session lasting three to five hours.

An alternative to that treatment involves creation of an "artificial kidney" in a process known as peritoneal dialysis that allows exchanges of dialysis fluid to take place at home, thus freeing patients of a rigid schedule of clinic visits.

Now researchers from Madrid's National Center of Investigations and University Hospital of the Princess led by Raffaele Strippoli and Miguel del Pozo have identified the molecular signals that cause abnormal changes in the peritoneum that make the "artificial kidney" treatment ineffective. They also found pharmacologically disrupting those signals causes the abnormal cells to revert back to their original state, thus continuing the effectiveness of that therapy.

The research is reported in the journal Disease Models & Mechanisms.