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Group leader:

DR BART SMEETS PHD

RESEARCH NARRATIVE

Research focuses on progressive kidney diseases leading to scarring of the glomerulus (glomerulosclerosis) and loss of the nephrons of the kidney.
Current projects are aimed at unraveling the molecular processes underlying nephron injury and repair, to identify new biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

The Nephropathology research group is positioned within the department of Pathology and the Renal Disorders research theme of the Radboudumc, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.  

Bart Smeets PhD

Group leader

The Nephropathology research group is positioned within the department of Pathology and the Renal Disorders research theme of the Radboudumc, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.  

Research narrative

Research focuses on progressive kidney diseases leading to scarring of the glomerulus (glomerulosclerosis) and loss of the nephrons of the kidney.
Current projects are aimed at unraveling the molecular processes underlying nephron injury and repair, to identify new biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

OUR RESEARCH

New treatment options for glomerulosclerosis

Currently, there are limited options for treatment of glomerulosclerosis available. In previous studies in experimental models of glomerulosclerosis, we have shown that activated parietal epithelial cells (PECs) are crucially involved in the development of glomerulosclerosis. These results were validated in human biopsies. From these studies we proposed that persistent activation of PECs is driving disease progression and that pharmacological inactivation of PECs represents an effective and targeted treatment option to slow loss of renal function.

Our current studies are aimed to unravel the molecular mechanism driving PEC activation and subsequent glomerulosclerosis. The knowledge that will be acquired from these studies is necessary for the identification of new diagnostic and prognostic markers and of specific therapeutic targets.

To understand proximal tubular cell regeneration

Tubular cell injury is a common finding in biopsies of patients with acute kidney injury (AKI), as well as in chronic kidney disease (CKD). Tubular cell injury occurs in response to a variety of renal insults, most commonly ischemia. Nevertheless, tubules have a remarkable capacity to regenerate lost cells. Surviving proximal tubular cells are the major source for new proximal tubular cells. These surviving tubular cells acquire a different phenotype, the so called scattered tubular cell (STC) phenotype, which is transient and dependent of a specific transcriptional program facilitating tubular cell survival and regeneration. 

We aim to identify the yet unknown molecular processes underlying this phenotypic switch, which is a prerequisite for developing specific therapies for prevention and recovery of AKI/CKD.

FUNDING

 – VIDI grant ZonMw

– VENI grant ZonMw

 – Radboudumc Hypatia grant 

 – Dutch Kindey Foundation

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NEWS

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Veni Award for Jitske Jansen

Dr. Jitske Jansen, member of the nephropathology research group, has received a Veni grant of 250,000 Euro from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Project title: The REPAIR study: Regeneration of kidnEy ePitheliAl cells crossIng boRders

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World Kidney Day. March 2019

Nephrologist and kidney researchers in collaboration with kidney patients and NierNieuws organize a playful teaching program at Radboud University Medical Center to raise awareness for kidney disease.

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mini-niertjes niernieuws

Kidney Organoids

Interview with Dr. Jitske Jansen for NierNieuws (Kidney News). March 2019 An interview with researcher Jitske Jansen from the Radboudumc Amalia Children’s Hospital in Nijmegen about her research on organoids. “Mini-niertjes in een kweekschaaltje” (article in Dutch).

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organoid

Nephrotic syndrome in a dish

Our recent publication in Pediatric Nephrology. February 2019 Nephrotic syndrome in a dish: recent developments in modeling in vitro. In this review, we highlight the molecular basis of nephrotic syndrome and discuss requirements to accurately study nephrotic syndrome in vitro, including an overview of specific podocyte markers, cutting-edge stem cell organoids, and the implementation of microfluidic platforms. The development of (patho) physiologically relevant glomerular models will accelerate the identification of molecular targets involved in nephrotic syndrome and

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niernieuws jenny

The role of parietal cells in glomerulosclerosis

An interview with researcher Jennifer Eymael about her research into scarring in kidney diseases. This study was published in December 2017 in Kidney International. Interview  for NierNieuws (Kidney News) “Niercellen maken littekenvorming zelf erger” (article in Dutch)    

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outgrowth

Our recent publication in Kidney Int.

Kidney Int. March 2018, p626–642 CD44 is required for the pathogenesis of experimental crescentic glomerulonephritis and collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. J. Eymael et al. A key feature of glomerular diseases such as crescentic glomerulonephritis and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis is the activation, migration and proliferation of parietal epithelial cells. CD44-positive activated parietal epithelial cells have been identified in proliferative cellular lesions in glomerular disease. However, it remains unknown whether CD44-positive parietal epithelial cells contribute to the pathogenesis of

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