Identifying the Cause of Decreased Urine pH of Mice on A Caloric Restriction.


James Mejia

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2018

JAX Location

In: Student Reports, Summer 2018, The Jackson Laboratory


One way to avoid chronic kidney disease (CKD) is to manage the things that could cause kidney damage, such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Managing blood pressure and blood sugar can be managed through one's diet. Calorie restricted diets have become a particular one of interest because they have been shown to result in increased lifespan. However, a recent, large mouse study conducted by the Jackson Laboratory Aging Center, observing the effects of caloric restriction (CR), found a significant decrease in urine pH caused by CR. This observation is significant because reducing daily caloric intake could potentially have an adverse effect on kidney health, which would result in long term health consequences, such as kidney disease, CKD, and renal failure. Thus, it is important to further investigate and identify the cause of the urine acidification. We hypothesize that caloric restriction in mice leads to an increase of alpha intercalated cells through conversion of principal cells, beta intercalated cells, or both. To test our hypothesis, 25 mice were kept on a particular diet, either ad lib (AL), 20% CR or 40% CR. After 12 weeks on this diet, urine pH and urine volumes were measured. In addition, using samples from their harvested kidneys, mRNA expression (qPCR), protein expression (Western Blot) and interstitial fibrosis (Masson's trichrome staining) was measured. During our study we came across only one significant difference, which was observed in our gene expression data. We were able, however, to observe trends that matched our expectations. The experiment is considered to be a success because it served as an insightful pilot study.

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