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Medical News & Perspectives
April 15, 1983

Promising agents for limiting renal damage

JAMA. 1983;249(15):1987. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330390011003

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Calcium entry blockers may be able to prevent acute renal injury from causing permanent kidney damage.

Speaking at a National Kidney Foundation symposium held recently in Washington, DC, Thomas J. Burke, MD, associate professor of medicine and physiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, described studies in which he and colleagues used the intravenous drug verapamil to protect dog kidneys against long-term damage after ischemic insult. Verapamil blocks entry of calcium into cells and is used primarily to stabilize cardiac function.

High levels of intracellular calcium, which develop during ischemic insult, block adenosine triphosphate production, leading to cell death. Burke reasoned that if excess calcium could be prevented from entering kidney cells during periods of renal ischemia, permanent tissue damage might be averted.

To test this hypothesis, Burke and associates Robert Schreier, MD, Joel Gordon, MD, and Patricia Arnold treated (via a renal artery) single kidneys of

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