Diabetic Nephropathy: Challenges in Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Biomed Res Int. 2021 Jul 8:2021:1497449. doi: 10.1155/2021/1497449. eCollection 2021.


Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease worldwide. Chronic hyperglycemia and high blood pressure are the main risk factors for the development of DN. In general, screening for microalbuminuria should be performed annually, starting 5 years after diagnosis in type 1 diabetes and at diagnosis and annually thereafter in type 2 diabetes. Standard therapy is blood glucose and blood pressure control using the renin-angiotensin system blockade, targeting A1c < 7%, and <130/80 mmHg. Regression of albuminuria remains an important therapeutic goal. However, there are problems in diagnosis and treatment of nonproteinuric DN (NP-DN), which does not follow the classic pattern of DN. In fact, the prevalence of DN continues to increase, and additional therapy is needed to prevent or ameliorate the condition. In addition to conventional therapies, vitamin D receptor activators, incretin-related drugs, and therapies that target inflammation may also be promising for the prevention of DN progression. This review focuses on the role of inflammation and oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of DN, approaches to diagnosis in classic and NP-DN, and current and emerging therapeutic interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / blood
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose