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Kidney Pathophysiology

Petrovic Research Photo Rounded
Snezana Petrovic, MD, PhD

Snezana Petrovic, M.D., Ph.D.

Research Interests: kidney acid-base physiology and acid sensing, dietary acid load and progression of kidney disease in adults and elderly and link between kidney disease and mobility disability, pH sensitivity of mechanisms of blood pressure regulation

Mammalian biological networks are exquisitely pH sensitive, so that fluctuations of systemic and/or 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 pathophysiological responses are the focus of our research.
We combine mechanistic studies in animal models and human studies in elderly subjects and patients with mild chronic kidney disease and 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 renal tubules perfused in vitro, and 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 approach. Our goal is to provide mechanistic insight into potential adverse effects of the acidic milieu on kidney function, blood pressure regulation and to identify acid sensors as potential new drug targets. Our translational projects focus on the link between dietary acid load, kidney function and mobility disability, and new preventative strategies to help maintain stable kidney function into old age and ameliorate mobility disability.

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