Premature cell ageing and evolution of diabetic nephropathy

Diabetologia. 1997 Feb;40(2):244-6. doi: 10.1007/s001250050670.


The rate of development and progression of renal disease varies greatly in insulin-dependent diabetic (IDDM) patients. The cellular and molecular reasons for this difference are largely unknown but could be related to early cell differentiation, a phenomenon recently reported in IDDM patients with nephropathy. In this study we compared cell differentiation and cell volume between IDDM patients with and without nephropathy and investigated the cell ageing characteristics in relation to the rate of evolution of renal disease in the IDDM patients with diabetic nephropathy. Cell volume was larger and the percentage of post-mitotic fibrocytes was higher in skin fibroblasts derived from IDDM patients with diabetic nephropathy compared to those from IDDM patients without kidney disease (mean +/- SD in arbitrary units 817.3 +/- 25.7 vs 760 +/- 32.8; p = 0.005; and mean +/- SD % 33.6 +/- 11.8 vs 20.8 +/- 10; p = 0.02 respectively). Analysis of the interaction of the time to proteinuria (TTP) and the rate of change of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) with glycaemic control, arterial blood pressure and cell volume and the state of cell differentiation showed that glycated haemoglobin and the percentage of post-mitotic fibrocytes were negatively correlated to TTP (r = -0.68; p = 0.008; r = 0.52; p = 0.05 respectively) and positively associated with the rate of change of GFR (r = 0.76; p = 0.03; r = 0.56; p = 0.037 respectively). Cell volume was negatively correlated to TTP (r = -0.53; p = 0.05). Diastolic blood pressure was also related to the rate of GFR change (r = 0.56; p = 0.039). In a multiple linear regression analysis glycated haemoglobin maintained its significance independent relationship with TTP at the 1% level, while the strength of the association between the percentage of post-mitotic cells and cell volume was reduced to the 11 and 9% level, respectively. Cultured skin fibroblasts from IDDM patients with nephropathy show signs of early differentiation. Glycaemic control is a key factor in the rate of onset of proteinuria and different rates of cell ageing appear to contribute to the rate of development and progression of diabetic nephropathy. Their interaction may be responsible for the severity of renal involvement in susceptible IDDM patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Kidney / cytology*
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies