GLP-1 Receptor Agonists and Diabetic Kidney Disease: A Call of Attention to Nephrologists

J Clin Med. 2020 Mar 30;9(4):947. doi: 10.3390/jcm9040947.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) represents the main cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESKD), and diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in diabetes. Despite advances in the nephroprotective treatment of T2DM, DKD remains the most common complication, driving the need for renal replacement therapies (RRT) worldwide, and its incidence is increasing. Until recently, prevention of DKD progression was based around strict blood pressure (BP) control, using renin-angiotensin system blockers that simultaneously reduce BP and proteinuria, adequate glycemic control and control of cardiovascular risk factors. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RA) are a new class of anti-hyperglycemic drugs shown to improve cardiovascular and renal events in DKD. In this regard, GLP-1RA offer the potential for adequate glycemic control in multiple stages of DKD without an increased risk of hypoglycemia, preventing the onset of macroalbuminuria and slowing the decline of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in diabetic patients, also bringing additional benefit in weight reduction, cardiovascular and other kidney outcomes. Results from ongoing trials are pending to assess the impact of GLP-1RA treatments on primary kidney endpoints in DKD.

Keywords: GLP-1; chronic kidney disease; diabetic kidney disease.

Publication types

  • Review