Health, new studies on acute renal damage
Kidney regeneration capability is limited and stem cell therapy is important. This was shown in a study carried out by Paola Romagnani and her team including researchers from the University of Florence and the Meyer University Hospital.
The study, published in Nature Communications, could revolutionize the current knowledge about acute renal damage, which affects 13.3 million people in the world with 1.7 million deaths per year and an overall cost for the national healthcare system higher than that needed for breast cancer, lung carcinoma and rectal cancer taken together.
There is a variety of causes underlying the disease: dehydration, medicinal products, toxic substances, infections and surgeries. To date, when it does not cause death, it has been considered as a potentially reversible dysfunction.
The study showed that kidney regeneration capability is limited and that this organ can recover only if living cells grow in size and increase their activity thanks to a mechanism called endocycle, which allows them to double their DNA without dividing, thus recovering their function and avoiding death.
However, the tissue lost is not regenerated nor replaced and the disease leaves a permanent damage, even when there is an apparent complete recovery of the organ function.
The study also showed that renal stem cells are able to regenerate part of the renal tissue lost, without fully repairing the damaged tissue.
The study was funded by an ERC consolidator grant to Paola Romagnani for RENOIR, a research project on renal stem cells that were identified by Romagnani, which led to considerable advances in renal diseases.