UTHSC Assistant Professor Adebowale Adebiyi Receives $1.5 Million Grant for Kidney Function Research

A newly funded NIH grant will allow Dr. Adebowale Adebiyi to further investigate newborn kidney function.  He will focus on the functions of cell membrane proteins known as “ion channels” that are located in blood vessels and glomeruli (delicate units where blood is cleaned and filtered) within the kidneys.

A newly funded NIH grant will allow Dr. Adebowale Adebiyi to further investigate newborn kidney function. He will focus on the functions of cell membrane proteins known as “ion channels” that are located in blood vessels and glomeruli (delicate units where blood is cleaned and filtered) within the kidneys.

Adebowale AdebiyiPhD, assistant professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $1.5 million from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. The award will be used to support a project titled, “Regulation of Neonatal Renal Hemodynamics.” The award will be distributed over a five-year period.

Disruption of blood flow to the kidneys is associated with life-threatening ailments, including hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, acute kidney injury, and chronic kidney disease. The long-term goal of Dr. Adebiyi’s research is to understand mechanisms that control blood flow dynamics in the kidneys, and the roles they play in cardiovascular and kidney diseases. His laboratory investigates the functions of cell membrane proteins known as “ion channels” that are located in blood vessels and glomeruli (delicate units where blood is cleaned and filtered) within the kidneys.

This study will investigate kidney functions in newborns. At birth, newborn kidneys are structurally and functionally immature, making newborns more vulnerable to kidney impairment, especially when blood circulation in the kidneys is altered by adverse events such as oxygen deprivation, severe infection, and blood flow obstruction immediately before or after birth, or both, which can cause acute kidney injury. The incomplete knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate blood flow in the kidneys limits strategies for the prevention and treatment of kidney disease in newborns.

Recent research efforts in Dr. Adebiyi’s laboratory suggest that an ion channel named “TRPV4” may be essential for the intrinsic ability of blood vessels in newborn kidneys to maintain constant blood flow despite fluctuations in blood pressure. Furthermore, their work suggests that acute kidney injury caused by a transient interruption of blood flow to newborn kidneys is associated with alterations in TRPV4 channel expression and activity in the blood vessels.

“I am very excited about this award because it will enable my laboratory to explore how ion channels control blood vessel reactivity and blood circulation in the kidneys of newborns in health and disease,” said Dr. Adebiyi. “We anticipate that our work will not only provide new insights into the mechanisms that regulate kidney functions, it may lead to new therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of newborn kidney and cardiovascular disorders.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.