Pediatric Cell and Molecular Biology & Cellular Biophysics research group

The primary goal of our group is to understand the mechanisms of chronic kidney disease so that specific treatments can be developed. We study the role of apoptosis as one major cause of loss of renal functional tissue. We have identified a signaling pathway that inhibits the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway before its point of no return, and have demonstrated that it protects the kidney from shigatoxin triggered apoptosis and apoptotic loss of podocytes and glomerular tubular disconnection in proteinuric kidney disease. Currently we are focusing on the pathophysiology of diabetic kidney disease and the role of apoptosis for the progression in diabetic nephropathy. Low nephron endowment is a risk factor for chronic kidney disease, and we are also involved in studies on how adverse developmental programming affects the embryonic development of the kidney. Our studies are performed using primary kidney cells and rodent models of human disease. We are using a variety of methods, including live cell imaging and super-resolution imaging.



Embryonic kidney stained with E-cadherin in green and WT-1 in red.



Bcl-xL expression in proximal tubular cells treated with 2.5 mg/ml albumin or 2.5 mg/ml albumin and 5nM of ouabain for 8h. Bcl-xL is in red and mitochondria in green using BacMam.



Immunofluorecence of E-cadherin (cyan) and Podocin (green) in a optical cleared kidney using a protocol based on the CLARITY technique


Selected Publications

Burlaka I, Nilsson LM, Scott L, Holtbäck U, Eklöf AC, Fogo AB, Brismar H, Aperia A. Prevention of apoptosis averts glomerular tubular disconnection and podocyte loss in proteinuric kidney disease. Kidney International, 2016, 90:135

Unnersjö-Jess D, Scott L, Blom H, Brismar H. Super-resolution stimulated emission depletion imaging of slit diaphragm proteins in optically cleared kidney tissue. Kidney International, 2016, 89:243

Aperia A, Akkuratov EE, Fontana JM, Brismar H. Na+-K+-ATPase, a new class of plasma membrane receptors. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol, 2016, 310:C491

Burlaka I, Liu XL, Rebetz J, Arvidsson I, Yang L, Brismar H, Karpman D, Aperia A. Ouabain protects against Shiga toxin-triggered apoptosis by reversing the imbalance between Bax and Bcl-xL. JASN, 2013, 24:1413

Aperia A. 2011 Homer Smith Award: To serve and protect: classic and novel roles for Na+, K+ -adenosine triphosphatase, JASN, 2012, 23:1283

Aperia A. Preventive nephrology: a role for the pediatrician. J Pediatr, 2012, 160:896

Li D, Scott L, Crambert S, Zelenin S, Eklöf AC, Di Ciano L, Ibarra F, Aperia A. Binding of losartan to angiotensin AT1 receptors increases dopamine D1 receptor activation. JASN, 2012, 23:421

Li J, Khodus GR, Kruusmägi M, Kamali-Zare P, Liu XL, Eklöf AC, Zelenin S, Brismar H, Aperia A. Ouabain protects against adverse developmental programming of the kidney. Nature Communications, 2010, 27:42