Snežana Petrović, MD, PhD, FASN

Snežana Petrović, MD, PhD, FASN


Petrovic Snežana Petrović, MD, PhD, FASN
Assistant Professor  
 Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Nephrology
Hypertension and Vascular Research Center
Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center
    Wake Forest School of Medicine
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157

Lab: 336-713-7207
Fax: 336-716-8501


University of Rochester, NY Postdoctoral fellow, 1997-2000         
University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, PhD, 1999        
University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, MD, 1986

Research Area
Kidney acid-base physiology and acid sensing, dietary acid load and progression of kidney disease in adults and elderly, pH sensitivity of central mechanisms of blood pressure regulation

Brief Summary of Research
Mammalian biological networks are exquisitely pH sensitive, so that fluctuations of systemic and/or local interstitial pH influence processes as diverse as release of calcium from the bone or regulation of blood pressure. Renal compensatory mechanisms protect against systemic acidosis by increasing net acid excretion to balance the acid produced by metabolism of a typical Western diet.  Recent evidence has shown that a compensatory increase in net acid excretion with or without metabolic acidosis is associated with progression of chronic kidney disease and that high net dietary acid load may be an independent risk factor for developing hypertension.  The underlying mechanisms of these physiological responses are the focus of our research.  We are particularly interested in the role of acid sensors (e.g. proton-sensing receptors) in blood pressure regulation, the development and progression of kidney disease, and age-related decline in kidney function. 

This issue is important for preservation of the public health because the typical contemporary diet, high in protein, produces a high net metabolic acid load which is often not mitigated by sufficient intake of fruits and vegetables.  To investigate mechanisms that lead to adverse effects of a high dietary acid load, we combine mechanistic studies in animal models with human studies in elderly subjects and patients with mild chronic kidney disease.  We use an array of techniques including transgenic models of acid-base disorders, metabolic balance studies, ratiometric, fret and confocal imaging in cultured cells and single tubules perfused in vitro, as well as novel chemical probes for detection of oxidized proteins. For a comprehensive analysis of signaling networks involved in cellular and organismal response to low pH, we apply proteomics and metabolomics.  Our translational projects seek to define a specific metabolomics signature that associates with high net dietary acid load and loss of kidney function. 

Our goal is to provide mechanistic insight into potential adverse effects of the acidic milieu on blood pressure regulation and kidney function and to identify acid sensors as potential new drug targets.  We aim to establish a basis for preventive measures to reduce the net dietary acid load by changing the ratio of protein intake vs. intake of fruits and vegetables.  The current literature and our research indicates that such measures may have a potential to decrease the risk of hypertension in healthy individuals, to protect kidney function in the aging population, and to slow progression of kidney disease associated with hypertension and diabetes mellitus.

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Phone 336-716-8506
Fax 336-716-8501

WF School of Medicine
Medical Center Blvd.
Winston-Salem, NC  27157
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