Advanced Technology for Transplantation
Factors that promote long-term engraftment of kidney transplants
Epigenetic factors that regulate kidney hypertrophy
Methods to survey tissue quality of kidney transplants
Gene mechanisms regulating kidney disease
New immunosuppressive methods
Overcoming challenges in kidney transplantation and viability of kidney transplants from cardiac arrest donors
The dearth of donors for organ transplants has led researchers to consider using the organs of cardiac arrest victims. It is still not clear, however, how well these donated kidneys operate following transplantation. Although typically applied to brain research, we are using functional MRI (fMRI) for this purpose. We are especially interested in observing the oxygen levels and edemas. We have used rats as a model for our cardiac arrest kidney transplants. We found that there is a small time window in kidney function. Kidneys transplanted one hour after cardiac arrest functioned well, but those transplanted two hours after did not due to increased tissue damage. fMRI observations demonstrated equal levels of thrombus in the renal medulla of the two kidneys prior to transplantation. However, after transplantation, the thrombus vanished in one hour kidney, but remained in the two hour one. Besides recognizing factors that improve the quality of the transplant, this research demonstrates a non-invasive diagnostic (fMRI) for the evaluation.
Another factor that could compromise renal function following kidney transplantation is the development of fibrosis. We are applying DTI (diffusion tensor image) MRI to observe fibrosis.