Importance of advanced glycation end products in diabetes-associated cardiovascular and renal disease

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Although the features of diabetic cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis, and nephropathy have been clinically characterized, the pathogenesis and the mechanisms underlying the abnormalities in the diabetic heart and kidney are not fully understood. During the past several years, in an attempt to discover interventions for diabetes-related complications, researchers have refocused their attention from the hemodynamic aspects of the disease to the biochemical interactions of glucose and proteins. Diabetes is a disorder of chronic hyperglycemia, and glucose participates in diabetic complications such as atherosclerosis, cardiac dysfunction, and nephropathy. Chronic hyperglycemia accelerates the reaction between glucose and proteins and leads to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGE), which form irreversible cross-links with many macromolecules such as collagen. In diabetes, these AGE accumulate in tissues at an accelerated rate. The development of the novel compound dimethyl-3-phenacylthiazolium chloride (alagebrium chloride), which chemically breaks AGE cross-links, led to several preclinical animal studies that showed an attenuation or reversal of disease processes of the heart and kidney. In diabetes, AGE not only structurally stiffen structural collagen backbones but also act as agonists to AGE receptors (RAGE) on various cell types, which stimulate the release of profibrotic growth factors, promote collagen deposition, increase inflammation, and ultimately lead to tissue fibrosis. In the heart, large vessels, and kidney, these reactions produce diastolic dysfunction, atherosclerosis, and renal fibrosis. Administration of the cross-link breaker alagebrium chloride in these diabetic animals attenuates these pathologic phenomena, restoring functionality to the heart, vasculature, and kidney.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S31-S38
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number12 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Advanced glycation end products
  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • renal disease

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