Transforming growth factor-beta: a clinical target for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy

Curr Diab Rep. 2004 Dec;4(6):447-54. doi: 10.1007/s11892-004-0055-z.


Diabetic nephropathy is continuing to rise in incidence, despite awareness of tight glycemic control and blood pressure. The identification that matrix accumulation is driven by transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) has led to a concerted effort to apply antifibrotic strategies for this disorder. Recent studies have not only demonstrated the beneficial effects of blocking TGF-beta on matrix accumulation but have also found that blocking TGF-beta may have important hemodynamic effects that are relevant to diabetic complications. In this article, we review the latest knowledge regarding the role of TGF-beta in diabetic kidney disease and discuss available and novel therapeutic approaches. The role of a novel antifibrotic drug, pirfenidone, may have important clinical relevance to diabetic nephropathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / prevention & control
  • Pyridones / therapeutic use*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Pyridones
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • pirfenidone