Advanced glycation end products in serum predict changes in the kidney morphology of patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

Metabolism. 1997 Jun;46(6):661-5. doi: 10.1016/s0026-0495(97)90010-x.


The biochemical mechanisms that cause the development and progression of diabetic nephropathy are unknown. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) might play a role, as shown by increased levels of tissue-bound and circulating AGEs that correlate with the severity of diabetic nephropathy. The aim of the present study was to investigate if circulating AGEs predict the progression of morphological pathology in patients with diabetic nephropathy. We have developed an immunoassay to determine serum levels of AGEs. In a prospective clinical trial of young insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) patients with microalbuminuria, kidney biopsies were taken at baseline and after 24 to 36 months. The biopsies were analyzed for structural changes in the glomeruli by quantitative morphometry (electron microscopy). We have retrospectively analyzed serum AGEs. The mean serum level of AGEs at the start of the study was 18.7 U/mL (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.9 to 20.5). A positive correlation between serum AGE levels at the start of study and changes from baseline to follow-up study in basement membrane thickness (r = .56, P < .02) and matrix/glomerular volume fraction (r = .57, P < .02) was demonstrated. In a stepwise regression analysis with changes in the matrix/glomerular volume fraction as the dependent variable, serum AGE levels at the start of the study proved to be a significant independent variable (P < .02), whereas the mean hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) or HbA1c at the start was not. This study shows that serum AGEs predict the progression of early morphological kidney damage during 2.5 years in patients with IDDM.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Basement Membrane / pathology
  • Basement Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Child
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / blood*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / blood*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Kidney / ultrastructure
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reagent Strips
  • Regression Analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Reagent Strips