Diabetic Nephropathy: Perspective on Novel Molecular Mechanisms

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Nov;27(11):820-830. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2016.07.002. Epub 2016 Jul 25.


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is the major cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) globally, and novel treatments are urgently needed. Current therapeutic approaches for diabetic nephropathy (DN) are focussing on blood pressure control with inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, on glycaemic and lipid control, and life-style changes. In this review, we highlight new molecular insights aiding our understanding of the initiation and progression of DN, including glomerular insulin resistance, dysregulation of cellular substrate utilisation, podocyte-endothelial communication, and inhibition of tubular sodium coupled glucose reabsorption. We believe that these mechanisms offer new therapeutic targets that can be exploited to develop important renoprotective treatments for DN over the next decade.

Keywords: SGLT2; diabetes; endothelium; glomerulus; oxidative stress; podocytes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / genetics
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / genetics
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / genetics
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 / genetics
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2