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UTHSC professor gets boost in quest for insights to help newborns

kidney researcher 
A $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will allow Dr. Adebowale Adebiyi to further investigate newborn kidney function.  
 
Adebiyi is an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). With the grant he will focus on the functions of cell membrane proteins known as “ion channels” that are located in blood vessels and glomeruli (delicate units where blood is cleaned and filtered) within the kidneys.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases is a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. The award, which will be distributed over a five-year period, will be used to support a project titled, “Regulation of Neonatal Renal Hemodynamics.” 
 
Disruption of blood flow to the kidneys is associated with life-threatening ailments, including hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, acute kidney injury, and chronic kidney disease. The long-term goal of Dr. Adebiyi’s research is to understand mechanisms that control blood flow dynamics in the kidneys, and the roles they play in cardiovascular and kidney diseases. His laboratory investigates the functions of cell membrane proteins known as “ion channels” that are located in blood vessels and glomeruli (delicate units where blood is cleaned and filtered) within the kidneys.
 
The study will investigate kidney functions in newborns. At birth, newborn kidneys are structurally and functionally immature, making newborns more vulnerable to kidney impairment, especially when blood circulation in the kidneys is altered by adverse events such as oxygen deprivation, severe infection, and blood flow obstruction immediately before or after birth, or both, which can cause acute kidney injury. The incomplete knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate blood flow in the kidneys limits strategies for the prevention and treatment of kidney disease in newborns.
 
Recent research efforts in Dr. Adebiyi’s laboratory suggest that an ion channel named “TRPV4” may be essential for the intrinsic ability of blood vessels in newborn kidneys to maintain constant blood flow despite fluctuations in blood pressure. The research work suggests that acute kidney injury caused by a transient interruption of blood flow to newborn kidneys is associated with alterations in TRPV4 channel expression and activity in the blood vessels.
 
“(This) award … will enable my laboratory to explore how ion channels control blood vessel reactivity and blood circulation in the kidneys of newborns in health and disease,” said Dr. Adebiyi. “We anticipate that our work will not only provide new insights into the mechanisms that regulate kidney functions, it may lead to new therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of newborn kidney and cardiovascular disorders.”
 
For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
 
(For more information about the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, visit www.uthsc.edu. Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/uthsc, on Twitter: twitter.com/uthsc and on Instagram: instagram.com/uthsc.)

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