Polycystic kidney disease (PKD), the world's most common inherited kidney disease, is a genetic disorder where fluid filled cysts grow in kidneys and destroy normal renal tissue.
"With further testing, treatments that target blood vessels surrounding the kidney cysts, perhaps in combination with currently used drugs, may prove to be beneficial for patients with polycystic kidney disease," said lead researcher David Long from University College London. "If we could target these blood vessels early in the development of the condition it could potentially lead to much better outcomes for patients," co-author of the study Adrian Woolf, professor of pediatric science at the University of Manchester in Britain, said.
By looking at mouse models of both the common and rarer form of the disease, the team noticed that tiny blood vessels surrounding the cysts were altered very early in cyst development.
They therefore treated the mice with a protein called VEGFC, and found that patterns of blood vessels normalized and the function of the kidneys improved.
In the mice with the rare form of the condition, it also led to a modest but significant increase in lifespan.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
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