Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is characterized by progressive cyst growth and is a leading cause of renal failure worldwide. Currently, there are limited therapeutic options available to PKD patients, and only one drug, tolvaptan, has been FDA-approved to slow cyst progression. Similar to other small molecule drugs, however, tolvaptan is costly, only moderately effective, and causes adverse events leading to high patient dropout rates. Peptides may mitigate many drawbacks of small molecule drugs, as they can be highly tissue-specific, biocompatible, and economically scaled-up. Peptides can function as targeting ligands that direct therapies to diseased renal tissue, or be potent as therapeutic agents themselves. This review discusses various aberrant signaling pathways in PKD and renal receptors that can be potential targets of peptide-mediated strategies. Additionally, peptides utilized in other kidney applications, but may prove useful in the context of PKD, are highlighted. Insights into novel peptide-based solutions that have potential to improve clinical management of PKD are provided.
Keywords : Polycystic kidney disease; Targeted drug delivery; Peptide; Chronic kidney disease