(184d) Mathematical Modeling of Podocytes in Diabetic Kidney Disease

Higgins, M., Oklahoma State University
One of the major complications caused by diabetes is diabetic kidney disease (DKD),

which is the leading cause of kidney failure. Despite the impact of this disease, the intricate

details of how diabetes progresses to DKD are not well understood. Diabetes is characterized by

elevated levels of glucose in the blood. The kidney is the main filtration unit of the body; as

such any, severe adjustments to concentrations in the blood can affect kidney function.

Filtration within the kidney occurs in the fundamental filtration units of the kidney; each of the

thousands of filtration units is called a glomerulus. The death of podocyte cells that constitute

the outer layer of a glomerulus begins a chain reaction of failure that ultimately leads to

dysfunction of the kidney altogether. Due to the significant role of podocytes in the onset and

progression of DKD, I have investigated the types of podocyte damage induced by diabetes that

lead to such failures. The key question is how chemicals within the kidney alter podocyte

function leading to DKD. I have utilized mathematical modeling to address this question by

formulating equations based on published data to test hypothesized mechanisms of the

connections between different factors that affect the health of podocyte cells.