Intake of fewer calories reduces inflammation drivers and protects against acute kidney injury in mice

22.07.2022 | TopNews Prof. Dr. Roman-Ulrich Müller

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Cologne scientists have previously shown in animal models that certain diets protect against kidney damage. Now the molecular mechanism has also been deciphered. The metabolite 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid, or 20-HETE for short, plays a crucial role here / Publication in "Kidney International".

A Cologne-based research team has discovered that the reduction of 20-HETE mediated by caloric restriction protects against acute kidney failure. This is another step on the way to transfer to the clinic. The research took place at the Clinic II for Internal Medicine, the Cluster of Excellence for Aging Research CECAD and the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC) at the University of Cologne. The article "Caloric restriction reduces the pro-inflammatory eicosanoid 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid to protect from acute kidney injury" was published in Kidney International.  

Acute and chronic kidney diseases are age-associated diseases, the prevention of which is necessary due to the growing proportion of elderly people in the population. Until now, however, there has been no therapeutic approach to combat the acute kidney injury. The Cologne research team therefore used mice with kidney damage to investigate the effects of certain diets. The team already showed that a short-term reduced calorie intake of 4 weeks has a positive effect. Now, with the help of further studies using targeted analyses of cell composition, in vivo imaging as well as blood pressure measurement, the scientists have been able to show that a reduction in the metabolic product 20-Hete mediates the protective effect of the diet.

"We are very pleased that we were able to identify 20-HETE reduction as part of a strong protective effect mediated by caloric restriction ," says Johanna Hoyer. In addition, the scientists provide insights into the molecular changes induced by 20-HETE . "The fact that we now know what influence 20-HETE has on protein assembly in cells offers new starting points for potential targeted interventions in the future," adds Martin Späth, co-author of the study.

The Cologne scientists show the great potential of dietary interventions to prevent kidney disease. "The effects we can achieve with nutrition are often much greater than the effect of drugs," says study leader Prof. Dr. Roman-Ulrich Müller. "Now it is time to find out the mechanisms behind this phenomenon to pave the way for clinical application. This is where the study fills an important gap."


Prof. Dr. Roman-Ulrich Müller
Clinic II of Internal Medicine, Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC) and CECAD Cluster of Excellence in Aging Research
Faculty of Medicine, University of Cologne