Sands Research Focus Areas
Dr. Sands uses isolated perfused kidney tubules to measure urea transport, and also evaluates the amount, location, phosphorylation status, and subcellular localization of urea transport proteins isolated kidney tubules.
Current research projects are focused on defining the molecular physiology of urea transporters since urea transport is a key component in the urine concentrating mechanism. Studies are conducted using rat models of abnormal concentrating and diluting ability and genetically engineered mice with knock-out of urea transporter proteins, protein kinase C alpha (PKCα), or the V2-vasopressin receptor.
Using these approaches, we have shown that urea transport and UT-A1 protein are regulated in the inner medulla by both vasopressin-dependent and vasopressin-independent pathways. The vasopressin-dependent pathways include protein kinase A and exchange protein activated by cAMP (EPAC). The vasopressin-independent pathways include protein kinase Cα and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).
Recently, Dr. Sands has started translating his lab’s basic research findings into clinical practice by investigating whether metformin, a drug that inhibits AMPK and is currently used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus, is effective in treating nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. Children with this genetic condition can produce almost a liter of urine each hour, and their parents have to make sure they drink at least that much water to stay hydrated. They also hope to test whether metformin alleviates the excessive urination that occurs in adults with bipolar disorder who are treated with chronic lithium.
Currently, he is collaborating with Director of Pediatric Nephrology Larry Greenbaum, MD, PhD and Assistant Professor of Medicine Titi Ilori, MD (Division of Renal Medicine) on initial pilot studies.
Jeff M. Sands, MD
Juha P. Kokko Professor of Medicine and Physiology
Renal Division Director
Emory University Dept. of Medicine, Renal Division
1639 Pierce Drive, NE
WMB Rm 3313
Atlanta, GA 30322