Advanced glycation end products and the kidney

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2005 Oct;289(4):F645-59. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00398.2004.


Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are a heterogeneous group of protein and lipids to which sugar residues are covalently bound. AGE formation is increased in situations with hyperglycemia (e.g., diabetes mellitus) and is also stimulated by oxidative stress, for example in uremia. It appears that activation of the renin-angiotensin system may contribute to AGE formation through various mechanisms. Although AGEs could nonspecifically bind to basement membranes and modify their properties, they also induce specific cellular responses including the release of profibrogenic and proinflammatory cytokines by interacting with the receptor for AGE (RAGE). However, additional receptors could bind AGEs, adding to the complexity of this system. The kidney is both: culprit and target of AGEs. A decrease in renal function increases circulating AGE concentrations by reduced clearance as well as increased formation. On the other hand, AGEs are involved in the structural changes of progressive nephropathies such as glomerulosclerosis, interstitial fibrosis, and tubular atrophy. These effects are most prominent in diabetic nephropathy, but they also contribute to renal pathophysiology in other nondiabetic renal diseases. Interference with AGE formation has therapeutic potential for preventing the progression of chronic renal diseases, as shown from data of animal experiments and, more recently, the first clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / genetics
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / physiology*


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced