Diabetes mellitus with its attendant complications is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality with diabetic nephropathy being the leading cause of end stage renal disease in the Western world. Characteristic structural and functional changes in the kidney early in the course of diabetes have been shown to have enduring effects on the progression of disease. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying these changes is imperative to the development of new therapeutic strategies. Renal hypertrophy and hyperfiltration along with proximal tubular hyperreabsorption are among the distinctive features of early diabetic nephropathy. Additionally, there are particular alterations in the sensitivity of the glomerular and tubular function to dietary salt intake in early diabetes. Herein, we focus on these early physiologic changes and discuss some of the primary and secondary mechanisms discovered in recent years which lead to these alterations in kidney function.
Keywords: Diabetes; Glomerular Filtration; Salt Sensitivity; Tubular Reabsorption.
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