Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease in the developed world. Until 2016, the only treatment that was clearly demonstrated to delay the DKD was the renin-angiotensin system blockade, either by angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers. However, this strategy only partially covered the DKD progression. Thus, new strategies for reno-cardiovascular protection in type 2 diabetic patients are urgently needed. In the last few years, hypoglycaemic drugs, such as sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, demonstrated a cardioprotective effect, mainly in terms of decreasing hospitalization for heart failure and cardiovascular death in type 2 diabetic patients. In addition, these drugs also demonstrated a clear renoprotective effect by delaying DKD progression and decreasing albuminuria. Another hypoglycaemic drug class, dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors, has been approved for its use in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease, avoiding, in part, the need for insulinization in this group of DKD patients. Studies in diabetic and non-diabetic experimental models suggest that these drugs may exert their reno-cardiovascular protective effect by glucose and non-glucose dependent mechanisms. This review focuses on newly demonstrated strategies that have shown reno-cardiovascular benefits in type 2 diabetes and that may change diabetes management algorithms.
Keywords: diabetes; diabetic kidney disease; dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors; glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists; reno-cardiovascular protection; sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors.