A quarter of all diagnosed cases of acute kidney injury are caused by drug toxicity (nephrotoxicity). Moreover, unintended adverse effects in the kidney often prevents the successful development of new drugs. The anti-viral drug Tenofovir is used worldwide to treat HIV and hepatitis B, and is a known nephrotoxin. Prof. Hall and his team used sophisticated high-throughput imaging and comprehensive metabolic profiling to determine in detail the effects of Tenofovir in a human derived kidney cell line. They could show that a drug metobolite causes the decrease of a protein complex crucial to energy conversion in mitochondria . The same experimental pipeline can be used to elucidate further mechanisms of (drug) toxicity or to study genetic regulators of transport and metabolism in epithelia.
The study was a collaborative project with the UZH Center for Microscopy and Image Analysis, the UZH Institute of Physiology and other researchers from Switzerland and UK.
The publication raised the attention of the American Physiological Society, which issued a press release.