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Scientists Find That Supplementation With a Special Omega-3 Lipid Could Treat Acute Kidney Injury

A team of researchers from Singapore has identified a potential dietary supplement that may improve recovery following acute kidney injury (AKI). The finding, published in the Journal of Lipid Research, comes from a long-running research program at Duke-NUS Medical School investigating how cells take up a specialized omega-3 lipid called LPC-DHA.

A cross-sectional view of the preclinical model's kidney revealing that the omega-3 lysolipid transporter Mfsd2a (green color) is found specifically in the S3 segment of the proximal tubules. Credit: Dr Randy Y.J. Loke
A cross-sectional view of the preclinical model's kidney revealing that the omega-3 lysolipid transporter Mfsd2a (green color) is found specifically in the S3 segment of the proximal tubules. Credit: Dr Randy Y.J. Loke

AKI is a major public health concern, affecting an estimated 13.3 million people globally each year. It is caused by a sudden loss of kidney function, and can be fatal in up to 50% of cases.


One of the main causes of AKI is ischemic reperfusion injury, which occurs when the kidney's blood supply is restored after a period of restricted blood flow and poor oxygen delivery. This can happen due to illness, injury, or surgical intervention.

In their study, the researchers found that LPC-DHA can help to protect the kidneys from ischemic reperfusion injury. They showed that LPC-DHA can improve the function of the S3 proximal tubules, a crucial part of the kidney that regulates the levels of absorption of water and soluble substances, including salts.


"Our results suggest that LPC-DHA could become a safe and effective treatment that offers lifelong protection for the kidneys," said Professor David Silver, the senior author of the study. "This is exciting news for future recipients who have suffered from AKI."


The researchers are now planning to conduct clinical trials to test the effectiveness of LPC-DHA in improving renal function and recovery following AKI in patients. They are also planning to continue their investigations of the protein Mfsd2a to learn more about its role in LPC transport and its involvement in diseases affecting other tissues and organs.


This study is a significant step forward in the search for new treatments for AKI. The results suggest that LPC-DHA could be a safe and effective way to improve recovery and reduce the risk of death in patients with this condition.


Journal Information: Randy Y.J. Loke et al, Mfsd2a mediated lysolipid transport is important for renal recovery after acute kidney injury, Journal of Lipid Research (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.jlr.2023.100416

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