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Dr. Harold Aukema

Dr. Harold Aukema

Principal Investigator
Nutrition and Lipid Mediators, Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research In Health and Medicine

Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba


Research Focus

Our laboratory has been examining the role of prostanoid related enzymes and prostanoid production in normal and diseased kidneys. These findings are relevant to the questions surrounding the nephrotoxicity of selective cyclooxygenase inhibitors and the role of these fatty acid derived mediators in renal physiology. Our current work is demonstrating that early dietary interventions (such as with fish oil and soy protein) alter the levels these products. We have developed comprehensive lipidomic analysis of oxylipins in our laboratory and expanded this work from prostanoids to include over 100 oxylipins. This analysis has led to the discovery of novel compounds in response to dietary interventions (e.g. unique oxylipins produced from dietary flax and canola oil feeding) and unique oxylipins patterns in several types of renal diseases.

The laboratory also examines the roles of dietary interventions in the early progression of kidney disease. This includes nutritional, functional food and pharmacological interventions in several types of kidney disease, including polycystic kidney disease (using conditional knockout models), obesity related renal disorders and pediatric forms of renal cyst disease. These studies are being carried out in collaboration with investigators at Fujita Health University in Japan. As an example of the impact of these studies, some patient organizations now include dietary recommendations to patients with polycystic kidney disease for reduction in dietary protein, and substituting plant for animal proteins.

Our work on the effects of dietary proteins on normal kidney physiology has implications for the dietary recommendations for dietary protein. Findings in both rat and pig models suggest that, despite the potential benefit of high protein diets on body composition, long-term intakes of protein at the upper limit of the dietary recommendations may compromise renal health. We are currently examining the effects of different types of protein in high protein diets in the context of obesity, as renal damage in obesity may predispose the obese to further damage by high levels of dietary protein. Different protein sources at high levels of intake may have differing effects, whether positive or negative.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Harold Aukema
Ph. (204) 258-1364
Fax. (204) 237-4018


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University of Manitoba Merit Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching and Service

Studenship, Nestle Graduate Student Competition at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Nutrition Society, Vancouver – Stephanie Caligiuri

Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Effect of dietary interventions on disease progression in orthologous models of polycystic kidney disease

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Dietary effects on renal eicosanoid metabolism

Agri-Food Research Development Initiative (ARDI)
Biological effects of alpha-linolenic acid metabolites


Life In the Lab