Biologists from Wake Forest University and the University of Turin have found that transplanting mitochondria can reduce damage to kidney cells due to illness or injury and reverse some of the changes. The study was published in the Annals of Surgery .
Mitochondria produce the energy needed for the cell to function. Scientists tested their transplantation from donor cells into damaged ones. In doing so, they focused on human proximal tubule cells, which play an important role in the removal of toxins.
The transplantation of healthy mitochondria into damaged cells resulted in an increase in cellular energy. Kidney tests showed that this led to their partial recovery.
In the US , 20% of transplantable kidneys end up being discarded due to severe damage. The new technology will be especially useful in a new type of organ donation after a heart-related death. It has been estimated that this type of donation could produce 20,000 new kidneys annually. But in conditions of insufficient blood supply after the death of a patient, mitochondria and kidneys are quickly damaged, and the transplantation of healthy mitochondria can be a solution to this problem.