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Anti-ageing hormone could help predict kidney disease in diabetes

By Editor
14th February 2017
Lead stories, Research

An anti-ageing hormone has been found to play a major part in the development of kidney disease which is commonly related to diabetes.

A new study made by researchers at Kings College London has found a link between Klotho and early stages of microalbuminuria.

The study, which was published in the Diabetologia journal, showed that increased levels of the hormone was a potential risk marker to kidney disease.

The research team tested 78 people’s blood and urine samples who had type 1 diabetes. As a result, 33 patients showed signs of the early stages of microalbuminuria.

‘Exciting step’

First author Dr Giuseppe Maltese, from the cardiovascular division at King’s College, said: “For the first time, Klotho has been linked to kidney disease in type 1 diabetes patients and this finding represents an exciting step towards developing new markers for disease and potentially new treatments.”

The way it works is that the Klotho protein sits in the membrane of certain cells as well as being found circulating in serum and cerebrospinal fluid, which indicates that it is secreted. The fact that Klotho is secreted suggests that enzymes acting like scissors must be involved in the liberation of Klotho from the cell membrane.

This could mean that Klotho levels have the potential to be used as a risk marker to predict kidney disease. It is the target for developing new treatments for future prevention of kidney disease in patients with type 1 diabetes.

Senior author, Dr Janaka Karalliedde, said: “With further research using larger cohorts of patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes we hope to expand the scope of this work to identify at an early stage patients at high risk of progression of kidney disease and cardiovascular disease.”

Another side effect of Klotho is that it works as a powerful protector of the vascular system by fighting against the abnormalities that can occur with age. One of the most common abnormalities is the thickening of the artery walls which is a process known as atherosclerosis.

With the study only having a small sample size of 78 patients, it is hard to know for definite whether there is a casual relationship between Klotho and the development of kidney disease.

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