Background: Proteinuria predicts renal disease progression, and its reduction by angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) or angiotensin II receptor antagonists (ARA) is renoprotective.
Methods: In this prospective, randomized, cross-over study of 24 patients with nondiabetic, chronic nephropathies, we compared the effects on proteinuria, renal hemodynamics, and glomerular permselectivity of 8 weeks with comparable blood pressure control achieved by benazepril (10 mg/day) and valsartan (80 mg/day) combined therapy with those achieved by benazepril (20 mg/day) or valsartan (160 mg/day) alone.
Results: Despite comparable changes in blood pressure and glomerular filtration rate (GFR), combined therapy decreased proteinuria more than benazepril (-56% vs. -45.9%, P=0.02) and valsartan (-41.5%, P=0.002). Changes in urinary protein to creatinine ratio followed the same trend. Filtration fraction and renal vascular resistances (RVR) decreased more with combined (-14.7%,-23.7%) or benazepril (-12.4%, -20.5%) than with valsartan (-2.7%, -12.5%, P < 0.05 vs. both). RVR changes, adjusted for GFR changes, were associated with those in proteinuria (P < 0.05). Changes in glomerular permeability were comparable and did not predict different changes in proteinuria in the three groups.
Conclusion: At comparable blood pressure, combined ACEi and ARA decreased proteinuria better than ACEi and ARA. The greater antiproteinuric effect most likely depended on an ACEi-related hemodynamic effect, in addition to glomerular size selectivity amelioration. Long-term combined ACEi and ARA therapy may be more renoprotective than treatment with each agent alone.