26 January 2017

Growth hormone contributes to polycystic kidney disease

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease is the world’s most common inherited kidney disease and currently lacks a cure. A study funded by Kidney Research UK, led by Dr Maria Fragiadaki at the University of Sheffield, promises to answer questions about a natural hormone that may contribute to polycystic kidneys.

Examples of kidney disease.

The Missing Link:

The Fragiadaki team has discovered that STAT5, a protein expressed by our kidneys, is activated and responsible for the abnormal growth of cysts in the kidney. Specifically, they have found that mice with polycystic kidney disease not only do they have elevated STAT5 activity but also have unusually high levels of a hormone, known as growth hormone, which may contribute to the progression of disease. Growth hormone is a natural hormone produced by the pituitary (master) gland of the brain.


Identifying that abnormal STAT5 activity contributes to polycystic kidney disease in mice was an exciting discovery. Our next goal is to understand how this pathway is activated in order to provide new targets for therapy.

Dr Maria Fragiadaki


The new findings can be found in the journal ‘Kidney international’.
DOI: 10.1016/j.kint.2016.10.039

This work was funded by Kidney Research UK and the University of Sheffield. The research was led by Dr Maria Fragiadaki and her collaborators.

This paper was selected by the Editor in Chief of Kidney International for a commentary. The article can be viewed here.
DOI: 10.1016/j.kint.2016.11.024

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