Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the most common complications of diabetes with high mortality rates worldwide. The treatment of DN has posed a formidable challenge to the scientific community. Simple control of risk factors has been insufficient to cope with the progression of DN. During the process of anti-DN drug discovery, multiple pathogeneses such as oxidative stress, inflammation and fibrosis should all be considered. In this review, the pathogenesis of DN is summarized. The major context focuses on a few small molecules toward the pathogenesis available in animal models and clinical trials for the treatment of DN. The perspectives of novel anti-DN agents and the future directions for the prevention of DN are discussed.
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