Indexed on: 25 Nov '08Published on: 25 Nov '08Published in: Current Diabetes Reports
The classic mechanism to explain albumin excretion in diabetes has been permeability defects in the glomerular filter. However, a new concept has emerged that albuminuria can be explained by the two major pathways the proximal tubular cell uses to process filtered albumin. Specifically, albumin permeability through the glomerular filter is only governed by size selectivity. Most of the filtered albumin is retrieved by the proximal tubular cell and returned to the peritubular blood supply. Albuminuria in the nephrotic range would arise from retrieval pathway dysfunction. The small quantities of filtered albumin that are not retrieved undergo obligatory lysosomal degradation before urinary excretion as small peptide fragments. This pathway is sensitive to metabolic factors responsible for hypertrophy and fibrosis, particularly molecules such as angiotensin II and transforming growth factor-β1, whose production is stimulated by hyperglycemic environments. Dysfunction in this degradation pathway may lead to albuminuria below the nephrotic range.