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Nephrology researcher presents findings at national meeting

BY: MELISSA MARINO

4/07/2006 - Karen Majchrzak, M.S., research specialist in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, presented recent research to members of the press at Experimental Biology 2006, an interdisciplinary research conference held in San Francisco this week.

Only about 30 out of the several thousand abstracts presented at the meeting are selected for presentation in the Experimental Biology pressroom. Majchrzak's abstract was chosen by the American Physiological Society, one of the sponsors of the annual meeting.

Majchrzak presented the results of a collaborative study between Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Gulhane Military Medical School in Ankara, Turkey, which analyzed the link between declining kidney function and heart disease, a leading cause of death in patients with kidney disease requiring dialysis.

The researchers looked at 217 non-diabetic kidney patients in various stages of kidney disease.

Majchrzak and colleagues found that as kidney function decreases, the body's ability to effectively use insulin also decreases, a phenomenon known as insulin resistance. As kidney disease progressed and patients lost kidney function, insulin resistance worsened and concentration of insulin in the bloodstream increased. When patients' kidney function was poor enough to cause them to enter dialysis, their insulin resistance and insulin blood concentrations more than doubled.

This increase in insulin in the blood has been linked to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes — all risk factors for heart disease.

The findings of such marked insulin resistance in patients with kidney disease requiring dialysis suggests a direction of possible new therapeutic strategies that potentially could influence the high death rate observed in this patent population, the researchers suggested.

Other Vanderbilt authors on the study included Lara Pupim, M.D., Omer Toprak, M.D., and Alp Ikizler, M.D.

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