New Cedars-Sinai Study Pinpoints Why Some Injured Kidneys Do Not Heal

Cedars-Sinai investigators have discovered why some injured kidneys heal while others develop scarring that can lead to kidney failure. Their findings, detailed in a paper published February 23, 2024 in Science, could lead to the development of non-invasive tests to detect kidney scarring and, eventually, new therapies to reverse the condition. The article is titledSOX9 Switch Links Regeneration to Fibrosis at the Single-Cell Level in Mammalian Kidneys.” “The key to this discovery was our ability to directly compare injured kidney cells that successfully regenerated with those that did not,” said Sanjeev Kumar, MD, PhD, a nephrologist-scientist in the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute and the Department of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai and senior author of the study. “Injured cells activate a protein called SOX9 to regenerate themselves. When they have healed, the cells silence this protein. Cells that aren’t able to regenerate leave SOX9 active, and this leads to a type of scarring called fibrosis. But when we deactivate SOX9 in a timely fashion, the scarring literally goes away.”

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