A drug usually used to treat diabetes may also retard the growth of fluid-filled cysts of the most common genetic disorder-polycystic kidney disease, a new study has found.
Researchers of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic reported that pioglitazone appeared to control the growth of PKD cysts.
Using a rat model, the two research groups independently tested a pioglitazone treatment regimen and found that it slowed down both kidney and liver cyst growth by inhibiting a chloride channel in the cells of these organs.
Normally pioglitazone works by making the body more sensitive to its own insulin. However, in studying why this class of drugs causes fluid retention, it was found that it also inhibits a chloride channel.
"We thought that since this class of drugs inhibits the body's chloride channels, then it would be a good candidate to treat PKD, a disease in which excessive chloride and water are transported into the cysts of the kidneys and the liver causing them to expand," said Bonnie L. Blazer-Yost, of the IUPUI School of Science.
"The finding that pioglitazone, which has already been approved by the Food and, Drug Administration for diabetes can halt cyst progression and may be an effective and well-tolerated treatment for this chronic disease, is exciting," he said.
The findings were published in the PPAR Research.