Department of Internal Medicine

Nephrology Faculty

Ulla Kopp photo

Graduate School:
Pharmacology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

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Ulla C. Kopp, Ph.D.
Professor (Emeritus) of Medicine and Pharmacology

Dr. Kopp's research interests include renorenal reflexes in normotension and hypertension.

This research project focuses on the kidney as a sensory organ. Sensory nerves, located in the renal pelvic wall are activated by increases in renal pelvic pressure of a magnitude seen during moderate volume expansion. The integrated response to this activation is a natriuresis. The elicited reflex response to activation of renal mechanosensory nerves is called a renorenal reflex. The mechanisms involved in activation of renal sensory nerves include the neuropeptide substance P released in response to increased prostaglandin synthesis. The natriuretic nature of the renorenal reflexes suggests that this reflex mechanism contributes to total body sodium and fluid volume balance by assisting in the excretion of sodium and water. Indeed, our studies show that in comparison to low dietary sodium intake conditions, high dietary sodium intake enhances the renorenal reflex response. The overall importance of this renorenal reflex diuresis and natriuresis was further evaluated by removing it by afferent renal denervation. Our data show that afferent renal denervation results in the development of increased MAP, presumably to facilitate natriuresis and establishment of sodium balance during high NaCl. Further evidence for the importance of this natriuretic reflex is derived from our studies showing that the renorenal reflex control of renal function is impaired in conditions of sodium retention. e.g., hypertension, cardiac heart failure and diabetes.  

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