Understanding Cell Death May Bring New Life to Kidney Treatment

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Ischemic renal failure

Finding how two proteins conspire to get kidney cells to self-destruct when oxygen supplies are low may one day improve dismal mortality rates for ischemic renal failure, researchers say.

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Dehydration, low blood pressure, septic shock, trauma or removing a kidney for transplantation can temporarily halt or reduce blood and oxygen supplies, says Dr. Zheng Dong, cell biologist at the Medical College of Georgia.

Ischemia leads to cell suicide or apoptosis, particularly in the energy-consuming tubular cells of the kidneys, he says. Fifty percent mortality rates from resulting ischemic renal failure haven't changed in nearly as many years, Dr. Dong says.

Tubular cells

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