Aims/hypothesis: Diabetic nephropathy has been associated with low-grade inflammation and activation of the complement system in cross-sectional studies. Data from prospective studies are sparse. We investigated the associations of the complement activator mannose-binding lectin (MBL) and the inflammatory marker high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) with the development of nephropathy in a large prospective study of patients with type 1 diabetes from the Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy (FinnDiane) Study.
Methods: Baseline MBL and hsCRP were measured in 1,564 type 1 diabetes patients from the FinnDiane study, of whom 1,010 had a normal albumin excretion rate, 236 had microalbuminuria and 318 had macroalbuminuria. The main outcome was progression in renal disease during follow-up.
Results: Both baseline MBL (p = 0.038) and hsCRP (p < 0.001) increased with increasing level of albuminuria. During 5.8 +/- 2.2 years of follow-up, progression to a higher albuminuria level or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) occurred in 201 patients. MBL levels were higher in progressors compared with non-progressors at all steps of progression, and in a covariate adjusted multivariate Cox-regression analysis MBL levels above the median were significantly associated with progression from macroalbuminuria to ESRD (hazard ratio 1.88, 95% CI 1.06-3.32, p = 0.030). In a univariate analysis, hsCRP levels above the median were significantly associated with progression from normal albumin excretion rate to microalbuminuria, but the association was only borderline significant after adjustment for covariates (hazard ratio 1.56, 95% CI 0.97-2.51, p = 0.068).
Conclusions/interpretation: This study demonstrates that concentrations of both MBL and hsCRP are associated with the progression of renal disease in type 1 diabetes.