Diabetic late complications: will aldose reductase inhibitors or inhibitors of advanced glycosylation endproduct formation hold promise?

J Diabetes Complications. 1995 Apr-Jun;9(2):104-29. doi: 10.1016/1056-8727(94)00025-j.


Patients suffering from the severe complications associated with both insulin- (IDDM) and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM): nephropathy, retinopathy, neuropathy, and atherosclerosis are still largely left without a prospect of an efficient treatment. This is the case even if it has been assumed for decades and now finally proved by the results from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) that hyperglycemia is the single main cause of these complications. Improved glycemic control as a result of intensive insulin treatment has the potential to reduce the incidence and progression of complications, but implementation and monitoring of improved glycemic control in all groups of IDDM and NIDDM patients in different communities will be difficult and expensive. Results from the recently terminated DCCT have shown that even with intensive insulin treatment, there will be a significant burden of complications on the diabetic population. It will, therefore, still be of immense importance for the long-term quality of life for the diabetic patient that additional possibilities are developed for prevention and intervention against diabetic complications. Almost two decades of research, animal model testing, and clinical trials have been conducted on various efficient aldose reductase inhibitors. Now the concept of inhibition of formation of advanced glycosylation endproducts on proteins and lipids resulting from extra- and intracellular hyperglycemia is entering the scene as an alternative or perhaps supplementary approach to reduce the occurrence of diabetic complications. An overview of the results from these two fields of research and associated drug-development programs will be presented along with thoughts on possible future developments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde Reductase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Animals
  • Arteriosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / drug therapy*
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / therapeutic use


  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Insulin
  • Aldehyde Reductase