We are all familiar with the body's innate clock but now, researchers demonstrate how a kidney's core circadian clock influences the body's metabolic processes.
The majority of the body's processes function is in tune with the natural circadian clock based on the Earth's regular light-dark cycles as it rotates. For instance, the formation and release of urine are mostly done during the day.
Researchers from the Switzerland's University of Lausanne theorized that part of these kidney functions' rhythmicity are, in a way, reliant on the body's circadian clock mechanism.
In the study, the researchers blocked kidney cell's gene expression that is linked to the circadian clock system and found that this clock plays a vital role in the chronological variations of the kidney functions. This organ activities function is in tune with the light-dark cycles that are parallel to activity and rest.
These variations are crucial to levels of lipids, amino acids and other blood components in the body. For people who take regular medications, the kidney's innate circadian clock affects the drug's elimination, and in turn, alters the length of the drug's action and the therapy's efficacy.
"We have shown that the circadian clock in the kidney plays an important role in different metabolic and homeostatic processes at both the intra-renal and systemic levels and is involved in drug disposition," said Dmitri Firsov, one of the researchers.
The research was released in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology on April 7.
Key Kidney Functions
The kidney's innate circadian clock helps the organ perform its key functions. First of all, kidneys regulate the water level in the body. The kidney removes excess water and retains it if the body requires more since the body needs just the right amount of water to function properly.
The kidney removes the body's waste products such as creatinine and urea, which are created when the body breaks down protein from food sources such as meat. When the kidney's functions are jeopardized, the levels of these waste products increase.
The kidney also helps in maintaining a healthy balance of minerals needed by the body to function. For instance, the body needs potassium and sodium that come from food sources and excess minerals excrete the body through the urine.
The kidney also produces hormones that circulate in the bloodstream. These hormones regulate the production of red blood cells, calcium levels and blood pressure.
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