Inhibition of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) plays a pivotal role in treatment of chronic kidney diseases (CKD). However, reversal of the course of CKD or at least long-term stabilization of renal function are often difficult to achieve, and many patients still progress to end-stage renal disease. New treatments are needed to enhance protective actions of RAAS inhibitors (RAASis), such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and improve prognosis in CKD patients. Inhibition of endothelin (ET) system in combination with established RAASis may represent such an approach. There are complex interactions between both systems and similarities in their renal physiological and pathophysiological actions that provide theoretical rationale for combined inhibition. This view is supported by some experimental studies in models of both diabetic and nondiabetic CKD showing that a combination of RAASis with ET receptor antagonists (ERAs) ameliorate proteinuria, renal structural changes, and molecular markers of glomerulosclerosis, renal fibrosis, or inflammation more effectively than RAASis or ERAs alone. Practically all clinical studies exploring the effects of RAASis and ERAs combination in nephroprotection have thus far applied add-on designs, in which an ERA is added to baseline treatment with ACEIs or ARBs. These studies, conducted mostly in patients with diabetic nephropathy, have shown that ERAs effectively reduce residual proteinuria in patients with baseline RAASis treatment. Long-term studies are currently being conducted to determine whether promising antiproteinuric effects of the dual blockade will be translated in long-term nephroprotection with acceptable safety profile.
Keywords: FSGS; angiotensin II; chronic kidney disease; diabetic nephropathy; endothelin.
Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.