Non-diabetic microalbuminuria, endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease

Vasc Med. 2001 Nov;6(4):257-64. doi: 10.1177/1358836X0100600410.


Subclinical increases in albuminuria (microalbuminuria) predict morbid events, but the reasons for that are still not understood in full. This paper reviews the existing evidence regarding the relationships of non-diabetic microalbuminuria and cardiovascular disease, the underlying assumption being that endothelial dysfunction contributes both to atherosclerotic macrovascular disease and renal microvascular disease of which albuminuria is a marker. Much data support that concept, and suggest a preferential link with endothelial activation in response to acute and subclinical inflammatory stimulation, although further studies are needed to establish the exact cause-effect mechanisms. Epidemiological studies also show associations with cardiovascular events, and some recent prospective results also indicate the power of microalbuminuria to predict risk independently from conventional atherogenic factors. Thus, microalbuminuria might be considered as an integrated marker of cardiovascular risk sensitive to systemic vascular status in addition to other parameters such as blood pressure levels, glucose metabolism, smoking habits, a profile rather unique among the prognostic predictors available to stratify risk in hypertensive patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / pharmacokinetics
  • Albuminuria / complications*
  • Albuminuria / diagnosis
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Capillary Permeability / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Albumins
  • Biomarkers