Smoking in diabetic nephropathy: sparks in the fuel tank?
Diabetic nephropathy is associated with high morbidity and mortality and the prevalence of this disease is continuously increasing worldwide. Long-term diabetes increases the likelihood of developing secondary complications like nephropathy, the most common cause of end stage renal disease. Usually, other factors like hypertension, alcoholism and smoking also partly contribute to the progression of diabetic nephropathy. Among this, cigarette smoking in diabetes has been repeatedly confirmed as an independent risk factor for the onset and progression of diabetic nephropathy. Various studies suggest that smoking is a major fuel in the development of high oxidative stress and subsequently hyperlipidemia, accumulation of advanced glycation end products, activation of the renin angiotensin system and Rho-kinase, which are observed to play a pathogenic role in the progression of diabetic nephropathy. Furthermore, cigarette smoking in diabetic patients with vascular complications produces a variety of pathological changes in the kidney, such as thickening of the glomerular basement membrane and mesangial expansion with progression in glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis, which ultimately results in end stage renal failure. Strong associations are consistently found between chronic cigarette smoking and diabetic microvascular complications. A diverse group of studies unveil potential mechanisms that may explain the role of cigarette smoking in the progression of diabetic nephropathy. Tremendous efforts are being made to control smoking mediated progression of diabetic nephropathy, but no promising therapy is yet available. The present review critically discusses the possible detrimental role of chronic cigarette smoking in the progression of diabetic nephropathy and various possible pharmacological interventions to attenuate the exacerbation of diabetic nephropathy.