The extracellular matrix in diabetic nephropathy

Am J Kidney Dis. 1993 Nov;22(5):736-44. doi: 10.1016/s0272-6386(12)80440-9.


In the subgroup of diabetic patients who are destined to develop the full spectrum of the clinical syndrome of diabetic nephropathy, the kidney is afflicted with a series of distinct structural lesions principally involving the extracellular matrices. Diabetic nephropathy is characterized by hypertrophy of both glomerular and tubular elements, progressive accumulation of extracellular matrix components in the glomerular mesangium, and thickening of the glomerular and tubular basement membranes. Albeit less well recognized, progressive tubulointerstitial fibrosis is also a feature of the syndrome. Irrespective of pathogenetic mechanisms (be they metabolic, hemodynamic, or genetic), the structural changes involving the renal extracellular matrix compartments are believed to be the basis for the appearance of overt dysfunction, namely, proteinuria, hypertension, and renal failure. Therefore, a full understanding of the mechanisms that culminate in irreversible kidney failure requires a closer inspection of the status of the extracellular matrix in diabetes. This review outlines the different structural changes that typically occur during the course of the disease. Both glomerular and tubulointerstitial changes are reviewed. Valuable structural-functional correlations have been derived from examining kidney specimens obtained from patients with a wide spectrum of disease stages. Experimental animal models, supplanted with recent investigations in tissue culture on the effect of high ambient glucose levels, have increased our understanding of the cellular mechanisms that underlie the disordered matrix composition. Alterations in the metabolism of the collagens, proteoglycans, and other matrix constituents are reviewed.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology*
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / pathology*