UPMC Video Rounds - Acute Kidney Injury

November 11, 2019


Sunder Sims-Lucas, PhD, research scientist, Division of Pediatric Nephrology: 

There are two major types of acute kidney injury. There's blood flow mediated through things like shock and trauma, and then there's non-blood flow mediated through nephrotoxins such as cisplatin that directly target the tubules of the kidney. 

My lab's really focused on developing new therapeutics, really interested in looking at cell-based therapies. So, at the moment, we've actually been targeting these endothelial cells that are critical for repair after acute kidney injury. And we believe that if we can insert these at the time of injury, that they can potentially be used as a therapeutic for patients to repair after acute kidney injury.

The other work we've been doing is looking at mediating critical genes. And one of those that we're looking at is Sirtuin 5. So we've actually found that when we knocked down Sirtuin 5, that this shuttles fatty acid oxidation away from the mitochondria where you produce reactive oxygen spaces, which is deleterious to the kidney, towards the peroxisome where you don't get ROS production. And this leads to protection. And we're hoping to harness this particular mechanism as a therapeutic that could be used to any patient that is seeing oxidative stress through the proximal tubing.

Here at the University of Pittsburgh, we've actually been lucky enough to be part of a new NIH initiative. It's the Kidney Precision Medicine Initiative, and this is looking at getting biobanks of acute kidney injury tissue, which there actually currently isn't one of. And we were lucky enough to get one of these proposals. And in the, in the coming five years, we will actually be generating a biobank of acute kidney injury samples. 

Learn more about the Pediatric Division of Nephrology at UPMC.