Diabetic nephropathy is the commonest microvascular complication in both types 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus. Disease pathogenesis is based on a multifactorial interaction between metabolic and hemodynamic factors. In response to hyperglycemia, which disrupts the body’s metabolic milieu, a cascade of complex molecular events occur leading to glomerular hypertrophy, tubular inflammation, mesangial expansion, oxidative stress, and renal fibrosis. Beyond the conventional microalbuminuria, which can predict disease onset, novel biomarkers are now proving more reliable as predictive tools. While several reports show that glomerular and tubular biomarkers are more sensitive than microalbuminuria, tubular markers specifically constitute earlier predictors of the disease. Similarly, biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress have been demonstrated as dependable diagnostic tools. As an important cause of mortality from end-stage renal disease (ESRD), diabetic nephropathy constitutes an important challenge in diabetic care. Interestingly, strict glycemic control assessed by glycated hemoglobin (Hb A1 c) estimates, and antihypertensive therapy with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin-receptor blockers (ACEI/ARB) ± calcium-channel blockers form the main strategies for preventing its onset and slowing down its progression. Other strategies include uric acid antagonist, and renin and endothelin inhibitors. This book chapter discusses these predictive tools and possible preventive strategies.
Part of the book: Advances in Nephropathy