Relationships among microalbuminuria, insulin resistance and renal-cardiac complications in insulin dependent and non insulin dependent diabetes.Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 1997; 105 Suppl 2:1-7.EC
A rate of albumin excretion rate above 20 micrograms/min is a predicting factor of overt nephropathy in Type I diabetes. It has not yet been established whether this is the case also for Type II diabetes, where microalbuminuria is antecedent to general and cardiovascular mortality but not to end-stage renal disease. The reasons accounting for this discrepancy between Type I and Type II diabetes have not been fully elucidated. In principle two different hypotheses can be postulated to explain these findings. Firstly it can be suggested that overt proteinuria is not detected with similar incidence rates in microalbuminuric patients with the two types of diseases because Type II diabetics are older and more prone to develop cardiovascular events. Therefore these patients would die frequently before developing overt proteinuria not because microalbuminuria is not a predicting factor of End-stage Renal Disease, but rather because the follow-up period is not long enough to monitor the patients till the very moment they develop renal complications. Alternatively it is possible that microalbuminuria reflect a systemic, endothelial and vascular disorder rather than glomerular structural abnormalities in these patients. We have recently described a clustering of clinical features encompassing microalbuminuria, hypertension, peripheral extrahepatic insulin resistance, renal and cardiac hypertrophy and altered cation membrane transport systems, not in the overall Type II diabetic population, but only in a cohort of these patients. Evidences in keeping with a strict association between insulin resistance, hypertension and microalbuminuria in a subgroup of Type II diabetic patients have been recently reported by several authors both in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. However the hypothesis that microalbuminuria reflects a systemic endothelial and vascular disorder in Type II diabetic patients, does not rule out the possibility that these systemic disturbances are also associated with histologic abnormalities of the kidney. With regard to the characteristics of renal histology in Type II diabetic patients with and without microalbuminuria, preliminary data from our laboratory demonstrate that there is no evidence of any renal disorder other than diabetes in microalbuminuric Type II diabetic patients. More particularly in this subset of patients we observed typical features of diabetic nephropathology (glomerular, tubulo-interstitial and arteriolar changes), while a substantial number of patients with increased albumin excretion rate exhibited either marked tubulo-interstitial lesions or arteriolar hyalinosis or both, in absence of significant glomerular changes. These findings suggest that it is not true that Type II diabetic patients with microalbuminuria show quite often normal renal histology, but rather than hyperglycemia may cause different patterns of renal injury as compared to Type I Diabetes. Furthermore always with regard to renal histology, it has been pointed out that in Type I diabetes glomerulopathy (especially mesangial) is the crucial change, whereas recent studies found considerable structural heterogeneity amongst proteinuric Type II diabetic patients with relatively high incidence of renal diseases other than diabetes. However parallel studies in a small group of micromacroalbuminuric Type II diabetic patients reported the typical glomerular changes, usually shown by Type I diabetic patients with similar patterns of renal damage. The issue of the relationships between microalbuminuria, hypertension and the development of overt nephropathy in Type II diabetes has been also examined in Pima Indians. The clinical scenario found in these patients does closely resemble that of Caucasian Type I diabetic patients.