The role of sulodexide in the treatment of diabetic nephropathy.
Diabetic nephropathy is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus. The pathogenesis and natural history of diabetic nephropathy, characterised by a progressive decline in glomerular function, were initially described in patients with type 1 diabetes. Reports that describe the glomerulopathy and progression of renal disease in patients with type 2 diabetes suggest that the disease process is similar to that observed in patients with type 1 diabetes with diabetic nephropathy. An emerging body of evidence supports the notion that glomerular capillary wall and mesangial alterations in diabetic nephropathy involve pathobiochemical alterations of glycoproteins in these structures. Evidence in experimental animals rendered diabetic, reveal that the administration of heparin and other anionic glycoproteins can effectively prevent the biochemical alterations that promote albuminuria. Clinical reports of the use of sulodexide, a preparation of low molecular weight glycosaminoglycan polysaccharides, have shown that proteinuria is significantly diminished in patients with diabetic nephropathy, even when these patients are receiving either an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor antagonist.