Increase in serum prorenin precedes onset of microalbuminuria in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

Diabetologia. 1999 Aug;42(8):1006-10. doi: 10.1007/s001250051260.


Aims/hypothesis: The renin-angiotensin system is possibly involved in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy. The most striking change in renin-angiotensin system components in blood of patients with diabetic nephropathy is an increased prorenin concentration. We investigated prospectively serum concentrations of renin-angiotensin system components and the time course of prorenin increase in normoalbuminuric diabetic patients developing microalbuminuria.

Methods: Patients (n = 199) with Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus and normoalbuminuria at baseline were prospectively followed for 10 years. The prorenin concentrations and other variables possibly associated with the occurrence of microalbuminuria, were investigated by Cox-regression analysis.

Results: Of the patients 29 developed microalbuminuria. Glycated haemoglobin values were higher at baseline in these patients. Serum prorenin was similar at baseline but rose in the 29 patients before the development of microalbuminuria and was stable in patients with stable albumin excretion. Renin, angiotensinogen and angiotensin converting enzyme serum concentrations were stable in both groups. Prorenin and glycated haemoglobin were independent prognostic factors for the development of microalbuminuria. A prognostic index, based on these variables, was constructed to estimate the relative risk of developing microalbuminuria.

Conclusions/interpretation: Increase in serum prorenin precedes onset of microalbuminuria in normotensive patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. High concentrations of prorenin in combination with high values of glycated haemoglobin can be used as a predictor of development of microalbuminuria.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albuminuria / physiopathology*
  • Angiotensinogen / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / urine
  • Enzyme Precursors / blood*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / blood
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Renin / blood*
  • Renin-Angiotensin System
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Enzyme Precursors
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Angiotensinogen
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • Renin