Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University have discovered how the kidneys protect themselves from damaging inflammation. In mouse studies, they found that kidney podocyte cells produce the enzyme IDO in response to inflammation. Human kidney patients also exhibit high levels of the enzyme. Blocking IDO in experiments with mice led to cell death.
The researchers found that IDO is the first step in a pathway that can lead to healing and cell recovery or cell death in the face of prolonged inflammation. Because inflammation occurs in a variety of kidney ailments, this pathway represents a promising target for new kidney disease treatments that could help many patients.
Source: When Inflammation Occurs, Kidneys Work to Protect Themselves, Researchers Find, MedicalXpress, June 23, 2015