Aarhus University Seal

Mads Vaarby Sørensen


Current position: Post doc, Associate Professor, Dept. of Biomedicine, Aarhus University, Denmark.

During his AIAS Cofund Junior Fellowship, Associate Professor Mads Vaarby Sørensen worked on the project "The renal natriuretic response following an acute potassium intake".

AIAS project

Hypertension is a common lifestyle related health problem. It is estimated that 40% of western world adults have hypertension. The condition is a major risk factor for a number of cardiovascular and renal diseases. Even moderate elevations in blood pressure are associated with shortened life expectancy. It has long been known that high dietary K+ intake is able to reduce blood pressure and protect against hypertension. The mechanism underlying the positive effect of high K+ intake is poorly understood. Interestingly, it has been shown that high K+ intake acutely increases Na+ excretion. Since Na+ is the main cation in the extracellular fluid, the total amount of body Na+ is the defining parameter of plasma volume and thereby blood pressure. Thus, dietary K+-triggered reduction of total body Na+ likely plays a part of the beneficial effects on blood pressure. A central study, in my previous research identified, the molecular mechanism underlying the rapid increased urinary Na+ excretion following ingestion of a K+ rich meal. This new knowledge allows for investigations of a number of important questions including: 1) How is a K+ rich meal that enters the gastrointestinal tract sensed? How is the sensed signal transduced from the gastrointestinal tract to the kidneys allowing for molecular alteration in renal Na+ handling? 2) How is K+-induced Na+ excretion regulated as a function of dietary status prior to the ingestion of a K+ rich meal?  This project aims to elucidate these specific questions to get a better understanding of the mechanism of how a K+ rich diet protect again hypertension. 

Short bio

Mads V. Sørensen received his PhD in human physiology at Aarhus University in 2008 and did his post-doctoral research both at AU and abroad at University of Zürich, Switzerland. Currently he is the group leader of a small research group supported by his AIAS-COFUND fellowship and grants from the Lundbeck Foundation. His research focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of regulation of potassium transport processes in the kidneys.