In a possible breakthrough, American scientists have found a gene to be the cause of a severe, early-onset form of kidney disease and renal failure in children. The scientists, from the University of Michigan Medical School, examined blood samples from 26 families all over the globe where children had been diagnosed with steroid–resistant nephrotic syndrome. They found mutations in the phospholipase C epsilon (PLCE1) gene in 12 children with the disease while there were no mutations in the control subjects of the study. With two children from Israel and Turkey having been cured of severe nephrotic syndrome, the researchers believe that if treatment can be administered early, the defects caused by PLCE1 can be surmounted.
Meanwhile, diabetics afraid that drugs that lower their blood pressure can give them kidney disease can breathe a sigh of relief. Researchers from the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Italy, have determined that ACE inhibitors lessen the chances of patients developing diabetes-related kidney disease. The findings were based on a study conducted on 1,204 volunteers suffering from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The researchers observed that taking an ACE inhibitor either alone or with a calcium channel blocker decreased the levels of microalbuminuria, the first indicator of kidney disease.
On the other hand, American researchers from the UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, have determined that regular intake of topiramate can increase one’s chances of developing calcium phosphate kidney stones. At the end of the study, the largest cross sectional analysis of topiramate’s long–term effects, the researchers found that taking topiramate for even a year makes the kidney unable to excrete acid and causes acid to build up in the blood. The researchers hope that the results will aid others to find ways to prevent kidney stone formation by topiramate.