The Johnson Laboratory has a wide variety of research interests:
i) Study mechanisms involved in the development of nondiabetic and diabetic chronic kidney disease
ii) Study mechanisms and especially the role of podocyte CD80 in minimal change disease and other types of nephrotic syndrome
iii) Role of uric acid in hypertension, metabolic syndrome and renal disease
iv) Role of fructose in metabolic syndrome, hypertension and chronic kidney disease
v) Effect of high altitude on the kidney, including the role of cobalt poisoning
One of the major areas of interest is the role of fructose from added sugars in the etiology of diabetes, obesity and chronic kidney disease. This is being investigated using cell culture and animal models. Much of the emphasis is on the role of uric acid which is generated during fructose metabolism.
Another recent area of research is the role of the endogenous fructose generation as part of the aldose reductase pathway in diabetic nephropathy and acute kidney injury. Again, these studies involve a combination of cell culture and animal models.
We are also working closely with Dr Takahiko Nakagawa on models of diabetic nephropathy and the role of nitric oxide, uric acid and other mediators.
We are also actively studying minimal change disease, which we believe is a CD80 disorder. Much of this work is based on the role of Toll-like receptors in inducing CD80 on podocytes in culture and in animal models.
We are also interested in the role of the immune system in hypertension and chronic kidney disease.