Pathogenesis and treatment of microalbuminuria in patients with diabetes: the road ahead

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2009 Nov;11(11):636-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7176.2009.00184.x.


The incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing in the United States, which is expected to result in an increased prevalence of microalbuminuria and higher cardiovascular risk. Microalbuminuria is an indication that a low-level inflammatory process is ongoing. In patients with hypertension, with or without diabetes, increasing urinary albumin excretion (UAE) is associated with elevated levels of inflammatory markers, endothelial dysfunction, and platelet activation. Microalbuminuria is associated with an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality in patients with hypertension and in those with diabetes with or without hypertension. Antihypertensive agents that modulate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) can delay the onset and reduce progression of microalbuminuria and decrease CVD morbidity and mortality in patients with diabetes. Clinical trials provide a spectrum of results regarding the protective effects of RAAS-blocking agents. Consideration of baseline blood pressure (BP), UAE and CVD risk, and the extent of BP lowering with treatment is necessary when interpreting clinical trial results in patients with microalbuminuria. It remains to be determined whether targeting the underlying inflammatory process can retard or prevent microalbuminuria progression or whether treatment of microalbuminuria can prevent end-stage renal disease or death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / complications
  • Albuminuria / drug therapy*
  • Albuminuria / etiology*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / prevention & control
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Antihypertensive Agents