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MRC LMS 'Summer of Science' campaign – until 28th August The Sweet Life

Diet high in sugar causes dehydration and affects kidney function via the purine pathway

17 August 2020

The Sweet Life

We all get thirsty, but did you know thirst is often linked to high sugar diets? Today, high sugar diets are a major global issue for human health, underlying many metabolic diseases, such as diabetes. Using fruit flies MRC LMS researchers have revealed that regularly feeding them lots of sugar caused dehydration, an increase in blood purine and accumulation of its breakdown product uric acid as crystals or ‘kidney stones’ within the renal tubule (fruit fly ‘kidneys’). Accumulated uric acid due to an increased sugar intake is seen here as the dark areas in the renal tubules pictured. The team went on to discover that dietary sugar was similarly associated with human kidney function and blood purine levels. Understanding the purine pathway may provide researchers with new targets for drugs that prevent the build-up of uric acid crystals improving health while reducing high dietary sugar-induced deaths.

Read more about the MRC LMS groups –  including Helena Cochemé's Redox Metabolism group – in the Summer of Science campaign on Twitter and elsewhere using #SummerOfScience

Written by Lauren Green

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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