The disease, known as polycystic kidney disease, is generally an advanced form of kidney disease that cannot be reversed, but early detection of symptoms can improve outcomes in infants in high-risk settings for congenital heart disease. The effects of the disease on blood cells are well documented and patients with this form of kidney disease are often recommended for transplantation.
A study that launched by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and funded by Jimena Memorial in Sweden has put the brakes on a rapid progression of the disease, and limits its effect on blood vessel formation. The results are presented in a new study in the journal JAMA Open.
Anyone can develop kidney disease if they are born early, have adrenal glands that cannot produce sufficient amounts of the hormone renin, which is the main hormone responsible for blood clotting, or have a genetic mutation that makes their kidney cells dysfunctional. Renin levels drop too low and also blood vessels become damaged. The disease can then lead to chronic diseases and lead to a much larger clotting problem in the kidneys. In addition to this, genetic mutations that alter portions of the blood or liver that protect the kidneys from scarring, and thus inhibit the supply of vital minerals to the circulatory system, the disease could also affect other organ systems.
There are usually no symptoms and normal blood potassium levels, even though a person might experience occasional light-headedness, sometimes with a slight headache. The initial diagnosis is made by a person who brings the problem to the attention of a kidney specialist. Clinical diagnosis of hypertension, secondary everyday metabolic syndrome (ADA), is made by a specialist, using blood tests. Other diagnostic techniques are the use of magnetic resonance imaging, motion analysis of biochemical reactions in urine, computed tomography, and intracranial magnetic stimulation, etc.
Transplanted kidneys work as double-panninated organ organ tubes. During the first phase, the kidney tube is formed by a microcirculation (two channels) which would otherwise be interrupted. After that, two channels begin to diverge (the first leaving the first, and the second leaving the second). Blood and blood vessel formation can then be affected. After a while, the two remaining channels are joined with a second channel joining the first.
“The normal blood potassium level is between 90 and 100 micrograms per deciliter, enough for a person of average height.”
In this study, the researchers had set out to find out, in what subtle ways, whether polycystic kidney disease could be prevented in babies in high-risk settings. The results are quite simple.
“There was no significant difference in adverse kidney function in younger and older infants exposed to polycystic kidney disease in the first year of life,” says Kristin Flurgl, senior author of the study. “However, we did see an impaired growth of the developing blood vessels, which is beginning to resemble stage I to II abnormalities. In these babies we had to give the medication to prevent the blood from clotting, which had little effect on the behaviour.”
The discovery raises the possibility of treatment that could slow the progression of the disease. The fact is that these results can be translated to patients, for example, by postponing or even reversing the early onset of symptoms.
However, the investigators point out that in the future it might be possible to determine which patients have polycystic kidney disease and get the treatment, by checking the blood potassium levels of those patients. This would translate into a new strategy for prevention of kidney failure.
“It may not be the best solution to prevent renal failure and therefore, we envisage that it will become vitally important to ascertain which patients have proton therapy, so that we can intervene sooner if symptoms develop due to proton therapy. It could also be useful to find out which patients also have other risk factors for renal failure, so that we can use such tools to intervene earlier in highly important patient groups.”