Progression of chronic kidney disease: can it be prevented or arrested?

Am J Med. 2005 Dec;118(12):1323-30. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2005.02.032.


Chronic kidney disease constitutes a highly prevalent health problem worldwide. Left untreated, it progresses inexorably to greater levels of severity at variable rates. The morbid impact of chronic kidney disease is heightened by its role as risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In the past two decades, considerable gains have been realized in retarding progression of chronic kidney disease by emphasizing blood pressure control and blockade of the renin-angiotensin system. Notwithstanding, the therapeutic goal of preventing or arresting chronic kidney disease progression remains unfulfilled. Currently attainable rates of decrease in glomerular filtration rate remain at 2 to 8 mL/min/y depending on the underlying disease. It is now believed that to achieve optimal therapeutic targets (proteinuria of <500 mg/day and decrease in glomerular filtration rate of 1 mL/min/y, the average age-related decline) we must introduce novel strategies and a multifaceted approach to treatment that interrupts multiple mechanisms of progression. To this end, and wherever relevant, new approaches to cause-specific treatment must be applied, such as targeted immunosuppression, intensive glycemic control, gene therapy, and enzyme replacement therapy. Furthermore, in all chronic kidney disease, we must interfere more effectively with the multitude of common mechanisms of progression. Established or putative, such approaches include aggressive blood pressure control; advanced renin-angiotensin system blockade; cytokine modulation and antifibrotic therapy; aldosterone blockade; endothelin blockade, nitric oxide modulation and vasopeptidase inhibition; antioxidant therapy; statin therapy; glycosaminoglycan therapy; anemia therapy; dietary restrictions; lifestyle changes; and pharmacogenomic profiling. Such a concerted, multifaceted approach to management might indeed prevent or arrest progression of chronic kidney disease, or even achieve regression of chronic kidney disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / complications
  • Anemia / therapy
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Glucose
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies
  • Diet
  • Disease Progression
  • Enzyme Therapy
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / pathology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / prevention & control*
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Proteinuria / etiology
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects*
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology


  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cytokines
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Immunosuppressive Agents