The changing course of diabetic nephropathy: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and blood pressure correlate with regression of proteinuria

Ellis, Demetrius; Lloyd, Cathy; Becker, Dorothy J.; Forrest, Kimberly Y. -Z. and Trevor J., Orchard (1996). The changing course of diabetic nephropathy: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and blood pressure correlate with regression of proteinuria. American Journal of Kidney Diseases, 27(6) pp. 809–818.



Diabetic nephropathy (DN) as manifested by persistent and clinically evident proteinuria, has long been considered an irreversible process that predicts a rapid decline in renal function. The observation of reversal of DN in several individuals enrolled in a prospective study of the natural course of diabetes complications challenged this view and led to the current investigation into the correlates of such regression of proteinuria. DN was defined as a median albumin excretion rate (AER) over 200 μg/min in two or three urine collections obtained at baseline, and again at 2 and 4 years of follow-up. Among 658 individuals with childhood-onset insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), 146 had DN at baseline. Nine subsequently died without renal failure, and 13 were lost to follow-up. Of the 124 subjects with at least survey follow-up data, 32 (24%) developed renal failure, and 78 of the remaining 92 provided full quantitative data. AER decreased by ≥10-fold into the microalbuminuric (20 to 200 μg/min) or normal range (<20 μg/min) in 7 of these individuals and are called “regressors of proteinuria.” Compared with the remaining 71 subjects, the strongest correlate of regression of proteinuria was an improvement in fasting plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in the 7 regressors (P < 0.008). Improved glycemic control was not a significant predictor of improved AER. Five of the 7 individuals with improved AER had a baseline median AER below 500 μg/min. When the 7 regressors of proteinuria were combined with an additional 38 individuals who also experienced smaller decreases in median AER, such improvement was associated with a more favorable systolic (or diastolic) blood pressure (BP) change (P < 0.01), and a decrease in plasma LDL-C level (P = 0.01). These data suggest that proteinuria in DN may substantially regress in approximately 6% and improve in at least 34% of individuals with IDDM over a 4-year period, often in association with a decrease in plasma LDL-C concentration or stabilization or improvement in BP. Furthermore, the data suggest that the nonreversibility threshold for diabetic nephropathy may be higher (500 μg/min) than previously reported (200 μg/min).

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