Mission Statement

“Understanding the integrative regulation of renal tubular transporters for the maintainance of electrolyte and acid-base homeostasis”

— Helga Vitzthum, PhD

Team Members

PhD Student

Kimberely Dreger

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Leya Eckermann

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Katrin Möller

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MD Student

Helena Pham


©Helga Vitzthum

Each renal nephron is composed of the glomerulus, that filters the blood, and the renal tubule, that changes the composition of the filtrate by reabsorbing ‘needed’ molecules from the urine and secreting ‘unwanted’ molecules into the urine. The tubule is subdivided in the proximal tubule, the loop of Henle, and the distal tubule, which is lastly connected to the collecting duct.

Besides intact glomerular filtration, perfect regulation of the tubular transport processes is essential for maintaining healthy kidney function. Tubular transport processes are orchestrated by numerous hormones such as aldosterone. The group of Dr. Helga Vitzthum focuses on the impact of non-hormonal factors in the regulation of tubular function, such as the influence of the blood electrolyte composition. As such the group could already show that potassium regulates sodium reabsorption in the distal tubule. Currently, we are analyzing how chloride and bicarbonate alter aldosterone sensitivity in the collecting duct.


Current Position

Scientist, Institute of Cellular and Integrative Physiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Prof. Dr. Heimo Ehmke

University Training
1990 - 1994

Study of biology (Diplom), University of Regensburg, Germany (final exam grade 1.2)

1988 - 1990 Study of chemistry and biology (Lehramt Gymnasium), University of Regensburg, Germany (intermediate exam grade 1.5)
Academic qualifications
1995- 2020

Research course ‘Methods in computational neuroscience’, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA

1994 -1997

Dr. rer. nat. thesis, Institute of Zoology, University of Regensburg, Prof. Dr. Kai Hansen

Previous professional career

Scientific postgraduate education:

1997 - 2004

Post-Doc, Department of Physiology, University of Regensburg, Prof. Dr. Armin Kurtz

Selected publications


Polyhydramnios, Transient Antenatal Bartter's Syndrome, and MAGED2 Mutations.
Laghmani K, Beck BB, Yang SS, Seaayfan E, Wenzel A, Reusch B, Vitzthum H, Priem D, Demaretz S, Bergmann K, Duin LK, Göbel H, Mache C, Thiele H, Bartram MP, Dombret C, Altmüller J, Nürnberg P, Benzing T, Levtchenko E, Seyberth HW, Klaus G, Yigit G, Lin SH, Timmer A, de Koning TJ, Scherjon SA, Schlingmann KP, Bertrand MJ, Rinschen MM, de Backer O, Konrad M, Kömhoff M. N Engl J Med. 2016;374(19):1853-63.


Regulation of the Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl(-) cotransporter by cGMP/cGMP-dependent protein kinase I after furosemide administration.
Limmer F, Schinner E, Castrop H, Vitzthum H, Hofmann F, Schlossmann J. FEBS J. 2015;282(19):3786-98.


Disruption of vascular Ca2+-activated chloride currents lowers blood pressure..
Heinze C, Seniuk A, Sokolov MV, Huebner AK, Klementowicz AE, Szijártó IA, Schleifenbaum J, Vitzthum H, Gollasch M, Ehmke H, Schroeder BC, Hübner CA. J Clin Invest. 2014;124(2):675-86.


Functional coupling of renal K+ and Na+ handling causes high blood pressure in Na+ replete mice.
Vitzthum H, Seniuk A, Schulte LH, Müller ML, Hetz H, Ehmke H. J Physiol. 2014;592(5):1139-57.


Targeted mutation of SLC4A5 induces arterial hypertension and renal metabolic acidosis.
Gröger N, Vitzthum H, Fröhlich H, Krüger M, Ehmke H, Braun T, Boettger T. Hum Mol Genet. 2012;21(5):1025-36.


Martinistraße 52
Campus Research N27
20246 Hamburg Germany
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University Medical Center Hamburg - Eppendorf