An enzyme called heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) known to be important in the body's response to kidney injury exerts its protective effects, in part, by affecting the immune system, revealed to a study by researchers at University of Alabama, Birmingham. These findings could lead to new treatments for patients with acute kidney injury (AKI).
AKI is an abrupt decline in kidney function that often arises after major surgeries or severe infections, and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is known to be important in the body's protective response to AKI. Lead researcher Dr. Anupam Agarwal said, "This pre-clinical study more completely defines the cellular compartments through which HO-1 exerts its protective effects in AKI, thus paving the way for the development of targeted novel therapeutic strategies aimed at preventing the significant morbidity and mortality caused by AKI in patients. More importantly, our studies discovered that the absence of HO-1 in myeloid cells had a dramatic effect on recovery after AKI, suggesting that HO-1 could be an important target in preventing the transition of AKI to chronic kidney disease."
The study is published in the 'Journal of the American Society of Nephrology' (JASN).