A serious condition that can cause the kidneys to suddenly stop working could be treated with existing medicines, a new study shows.
In a study in mice, scientists found that medicines usually used to treat angina and high blood pressure prevented much of the long-term damage to the kidney and cardiovascular system caused by acute kidney injury (AKI).
Experts hope the findings will pave the way for improved treatment of AKI—a common illness that occurs in approximately 20% of emergency hospital admissions in the U.K.
The condition is usually caused by other illnesses that reduce blood flow to the kidney, or due to toxicity arising from some medicines.
AKI must be treated quickly to prevent death. Even if the kidneys recover, AKI can cause long lasting damage to the kidneys and the cardiovascular system.
A team from the University of Edinburgh found that patients with AKI had increased blood levels of endothelin—a protein that activates inflammation and causes blood vessels to constrict. Endothelin levels remained high long after kidney function had recovered.