Researchers identify how HIV and hepatitis drug harms the kidneys
Researchers have identified how a drug commonly used to treat HIV and hepatitis causes kidney disease and kidney injury.
Researchers from Newcastle contributed to a paper, which has identified how a drug commonly used to treat HIV and hepatitis causes kidney disease and kidney injury – which could potentially help in the development of better ways to prevent and treat nephrotoxicity (when your body is exposed to a drug or toxin that causes damage to your kidneys).
Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate is a first-line treatment used worldwide for HIV and hepatitis B. The active ingredient, tenofovir, is known as a nephrotoxin (a drug that harms the kidneys).
Drug toxicity—harmful effects from medications that harm the body’s organs—is a common cause of kidney disease and causes an estimated 25% of diagnosed cases of acute kidney injury. Mitochondrial function—function of the cells’ energy centres—is often affected in cases of drug toxicity, but it’s not clear how or why this happens.
Dr Brendan Payne & Dr Matthew Hunt from the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research (WCMR) at Newcastle University are co-authors of the research. Dr Brendan Payne is also an honorary consultant physician in infectious diseases at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Matthew Hunt was previously a BRC-funded PhD student who explored the underlying causes of accelerated ageing for people living with HIV (PLWH).
Matthew Hunt said: “Mitochondria play a complex and crucial role in the cell, and so research into how and why mitochondria become dysfunctional is of significant importance in the effort to develop treatments for a variety of diseases. With regards to this study, the findings further aid the understanding of how mitochondria can be damaged by drugs used to treat HIV and hepatitis B, and how this can cause nephrotoxicity.
“In addition, in this paper we developed a convenient new method to screen for mitochondrial defects in kidney cells in vitro. Collectively, these advances may prove important in understanding the causes of nephrotoxicity, with implications for developing better ways to prevent and treat nephrotoxicity.”
And speaking about his experience of being a BRC-funded PhD student, Matthew added: “I’m proud that my work from my PhD can contribute to important studies like this one, where the findings can have real life implications for potentially treating devastating conditions and diseases like nephrotoxicity. I am extremely grateful for the support I received from NIHR in pursuing my PhD looking into the role of mitochondria in HIV, ageing, and related diseases, and am enjoying furthering my research into mitochondrial homeostasis in wound healing and skin diseases at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.”
Read the full journal article, Integration of high-throughput imaging and multi-parametric metabolic profiling reveals a mitochondrial mechanism of tenofovir toxicity, published ahead of print in Function.
Read the full story on the American Physiological Society website
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