Effect of Donor Nephrectomy on Renal-Bone Axis and Signalling Pathway of Renal Compensatory Hypertrophy – Pilot Study

Principal Investigator – Anna Li

Living donor kidney transplant has become the best option for many patients with kidney failure. This life-changing practice is partly enabled by a curious process called renal compensatory hypertrophy. In a healthy adult, following the loss of one of their two kidneys, the remaining kidney grows by 40% within a few weeks, restoring 75% of the person’s original kidney function. Despite losing one kidney, this results in the loss of only 25% of kidney function and the person remaining healthy. This adaptive response is still not well understood, in particular how the body senses the loss of one kidney and makes the remaining kidney grow. In our preliminary study, we will perform a series of blood tests on ten donors during and after their surgery to measure blood levels of hormones and proteins for a period of three months. We will also compare the size and blood flow of the remaining kidney before and after donation, by doing MRI scans in two of the donors. This will help us map the growth of the kidney and look for substances in the blood that control the process. Understanding the process will help us improve the process of selecting living kidney donors. This may also evolve into new treatments for people with chronic kidney disease and prevent the decline in their kidney function.