Role of hyperlipidemia in progressive renal disease:Focus on diabetic nephropathy

Karin Jandeleit-Dahm, Zemin Cao, Alison J. Cox, Darren J. Kelly, Richard E. Gilbert, Mark E. Cooper

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Background. It has been suggested that lipids promote renal injury and that 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase inhibitors confer renoprotection in certain renal diseases, including diabetic nephropathy. Methods. Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to sham, subtotal nephrectomy (STNx) or STNx + atorvastatin groups. After 12 weeks, proteinuria, renal function, glomerular injury, renal transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) gene expression and macrophage (ED1-positive cells) accumulation were assessed. In addition, the effects of HMG CoA reductase in human diabetic nephropathy were reviewed. Results. Atorvastatin therapy was associated with a modest reduction in proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis without influencing lipid levels or renal function in STNx rats. These effects were associated with decreased renal TGF-β1 gene expression and less glomerular and tubulointerstitial macrophage accumulation. The renoprotective effects of HMG CoA reductase inhibitors in both insulin- and non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects with either incipient or overt nephropathy appear to be highly variable. Conclusions. HMG CoA reductase inhibition appears to confer renoprotection via effects on prosclerotic cytokines such as TGF-β and macrophage accumulation, independent of their lipid-lowering properties. The role of lipid-lowering agents in early or overt diabetic nephropathy remains to be fully ascertained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S31-S36
Number of pages6
JournalKidney International, Supplement
Issue numberSupplement 71
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Atorvastatin therapy
  • Diabetes
  • HMG CoA reductase inhibition
  • Lipid lowering agents
  • Renal injury
  • Renoprotection

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