Carbonyl stress in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy

Intern Med. 1999 Apr;38(4):309-14. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.38.309.


Diabetic nephropathy is a major chronic complication of diabetes mellitus and an important cause of increased morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients. Although several lines of evidence have suggested that poor glycemic control undoubtedly plays a significant role, the metabolic events responsible for its development are not understood well. Possible mediators of untowards effects of hyperglycemia include the advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs, carboxymethyllysine and pentosidine, whose formation is closely linked to oxidation, accumulate in the characteristic diabetic glomerular lesions, such as the expanded mesangial matrix and nodular lesions, in co-localization with other oxidation-specific protein adducts, such as malondialdehyde-lysine, 4-hydroxynonenal-protein adduct, and acrolein-protein adduct. These five biomarkers are formed under oxidative stress by carbonyl amine chemistry between protein amino group and carbonyl compounds derived from carbohydrates, lipids, and amino acids. This article focuses on new aspects of the pathology of diabetic nephropathy, implicating an increased oxidative stress and carbonyl modification of proteins by autoxidation products of carbohydrates, lipids, and amino acids in diabetic glomerular tissue damage ("carbonyl stress").

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Glomerulus / metabolism*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress


  • Amino Acids
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced