MicroRNA protects mice from acute kidney injury

October 6, 2021

Dr. Kevin Burns“Acute kidney injury is a devastating and currently untreatable condition. This research provides hope.” -Dr. Kevin Burns New research led by Dr. Kevin Burns shows that intravenous delivery of a type of microRNA can protect mice from acute kidney injury, a serious and untreatable condition. The study, published in Kidney International, focuses on micro-RNA-486-5p, a tiny piece of RNA that some cells naturally produce to help with healing and repair. 

Previous research from Dr. Burns’ team found that this microRNA had promising therapeutic potential when embedded in tiny bits of cells called exosomes, but this study is the first to show that it also works on its own, without the exosomes. 

The study also used sophisticated genomic techniques to show that the microRNA altered distinct genes associated with inflammation and programmed cell death in the kidneys. If further laboratory studies show promise, Dr. Burns and his team hope to test micro-RNA-486-5p in people.

“Acute kidney injury is a devastating and currently untreatable condition,” said Dr. Kevin Burns, Nephrologist, Senior Scientist and Director of the Kidney Research Centre at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa. “This research provides hope.”

Authors: Viñas JL, Spence M, Porter CJ, Douvris A, Gutsol A, Zimpelmann JA, Campbell PA, Burns KD.

Core resources: StemCore, Bioinformatics Facility

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Kidney Foundation of Canada, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa and supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation. 

Media Contact 
Jenn Ganton