Heart disease is the number one cause of death for people on dialysis and affects nearly 95% of people with kidney disease. The cardiac system and the kidneys are highly dependent upon each other. When the heart fails, the blood cannot reach the kidney for filtering. When the kidney fails, damaged kidneys may lose the production of “good” hormones beneficial for the heart’s function.
Chou-Long Huang, MD, PhD, professor and division director of Nephrology and Hypertension has found one such good hormone produced by the kidney, and earned a $2.6M, five-year NIH grant for his research. This grant will support Huang’s research into soluble Klotho, which could potentially treat heart disease caused by kidney failure.
“We have discovered that soluble Klotho, a peptide hormone shed from the membrane form of klotho produced in the kidney, protects the heart against stress-induced hypertrophy in mice,” Huang said. “The goal of the grant is to study the mechanism of cardio protection by soluble Klotho and to develop peptide mimetic for potential treatment of heart disease in kidney failure.”
Huang has also conducted thorough research on klotho, which generally regulates lifespan, and has collaborated on several publications regarding the gene.