Quick Project Snapshot

Reinnervating the kidneys

Background: Destroying the nerves supplying the kidneys (renal denervation) using radiofrequency power transfer catheters is being trialled as a novel treatment in patients with drug-resistant hypertension, chronic kidney disease and heart failure. The renal nerves surrounding the renal artery are destroyed via heat generated at the tip of the catheter, which is transferred across the artery wall. Our laboratory has shown a significant reduction in the number of nerves 1 week following renal denervation in sheep using the same catheter used in human patients. Further, we have shown regrowth of the nerves 5.5 and 11 months after the procedure. However, these initial studies only investigated the function of the nerves under anaesthesia and the immunohistochemcial evidence of nerve regrowth in kidney tissue. The current project will investigate the function of the renal nerves in conscious sheep in the first 6-8 weeks after denervation. The results of this study are likely to have a marked impact on the catheter-based denervation field.  

Specific aims:  Investigate the changes in urine output, renin release and responses to cardiovascular challenges, such as changes in blood pressure, blood volume and ion balance in the first 6-8 weeks following renal denervation in conscious sheep  Using immunohistochemical techniques, determine the levels of reinnervation 6-8 weeks after renal denervation

Specific skills: Techniques expected to be mastered during this honours project include – chronic recordings of cardiovascular variables in conscious large animals, quantitative immunohistochemistry, data analysis and statistical methods. There is the potential for publication for motivated students.

Dr Clive May

Neurocardiovascular Laboratory

The Neuro-cardiovascular group is investigating the effects of the sympathetic nervous system in diseases including heart failure and septic shock.

All Projects by this Lab

Unravelling the role of chemokines in central control of the cardiovascular systemReinnervating the kidneysA novel therapy to maintain blood pressure and kidney function in septic shock

Systems Neurophysiology

In Systems Neurophysiology we seek to learn how the nervous system controls various bodily functions and how that control is altered in disease. Our disease focus includes not only neurological disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, but also how the nervous system impacts on non-neurological diseases such as heart failure and inflammatory diseases.  A clear understanding of basic mechanisms is crucial in developing better therapies and reducing the impacts of illness. 

All Labs that operate in this Division

Autonomic Neuroscience LaboratoryDigestive Physiology and Nutrition LaboratoryNeurocardiovascular LaboratoryNeurovascular Biology LaboratoryRespiratory Neurophysiology LaboratoryViscerosensory Laboratory