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British researchers identify gene for kidney problem
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British scientists have identified a gene that can cause the kidney to become inflamed, which can lead to kidney failure.

Researchers from Imperial College London identified a gene known as Jund which controls the activity of a group of cells thought to be responsible for potentially severe inflammation of the kidney, according to a press release on Tuesday by the College.

The gene regulates the activity of macrophages -- the cells which help us fight infection by eating up cellular debris and pathogens, and stimulating immune cells, the researchers said.

The new research showed that when the macrophages are overactive, they can destroy healthy kidney tissue.

Jund could offer a route for tackling the auto-immune destruction of kidney tissue which can occur in lupus patients, causing renal failure, the researchers said.

Lead researcher Tim Aitman said: "We are hoping that this discovery will allow us to find a new and effective way of treating this potentially fatal form of kidney failure."

"By reducing the activity of the Jund gene, we were able to reduce activity of inflammatory cells that can become overactive in certain diseases of the kidney. Such a therapy would be of obvious benefit to patients suffering from auto-immune diseases such as lupus. This would allow them to avoid dialysis and maintain their quality of life," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency April 30,2008)

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