Renal physiology in our Department has been founded by Dr. Gerhard Malnic, whose work is mainly related to potassium and hydrogen secretion in renal tubules. Dr. Margarida de Melo Aires has also given important contributions to understand proton secretion regulation by hormones, such vasopressin, angiotensin and atrial natriuretic peptide. Most of the studies in this area have been done by micropunction of rat renal tubules ‘in vivo’, and this technique is still employed by several post-graduated students under the supervision of Dr. Malnic or Dr. Melo-Aires. In addition, Dr. Malnic and his students have been using fluorescent probes to measure intracellular proton and calcium activity through microscopic fluorescence. Antonio Carlos Cassola, whose laboratory is now dedicated to the study of ionic channels in excitable cells by using the patch-clamp technique and confocal microscopy, has also given important contributions to the renal physiology field with his studies on chloride and potassium transport. During the last fifteen years, the molecular approach of the nephron function has also been contemplated, initially in the laboratory of Dr. Nancy Amaral Rebouças, who has directed her studies to the understanding of gene expression in renal tubules, and more recently, the group has included another researcher in this field, Dr. Maria Oliveira de Souza, in whose laboratory, molecular biology methods have been used to study cell signaling mediating hormone effects in renal tubules.
Some of the research projects of the group also require the classical method of renal clearance measurements in order to evaluate the global renal function. The current projects under development by the group of renal physiology refer to tubular effects of angiotensin, aldosterone, uroguanylins, parathyroid hormone on proton and potassium secretion, sodium and volume reabsorption in renal tubules, or proton and calcium intracellular levels. Group of Renal Physiology: Antônio Carlos Cassola, Gerhard Malnic, Karina Thieme, Maria de Oliveira Souza and Raif Musa Aziz.