Type 2 diabetes is frequently associated with an inflammatory status; the relationships between low-grade inflammation and diabetic nephropathy are still unclear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationships between acute-phase markers of inflammation, glomerular structure, and albumin excretion rate (AER) in type 2 diabetes. In 74 patients with type 2 diabetes (23 normoalbuminuric, 30 microalbuminuric, and 21 proteinuric) fibrinogen, serum amyloid A protein (SAA), C-reactive protein (CRP), and IL-6 were determined. AER was measured on three 24-h urine collections; GFR was measured by 51Cr EDTA plasma clearance. A kidney biopsy was performed, and mesangial fractional volume [Vv(mes/glom)] and glomerular basement membrane (GBM) width were estimated by electron microscopic morphometric analysis. CRP, fibrinogen, SAA, and IL-6 differed among groups, with proteinuric patients having the highest levels. SAA and fibrinogen correlated with AER (P <0.03 and P <0.001, respectively). GBM width and Vv(mes/glom) increased from normoalbuminuric to proteinuric patients [P <0.005 normoalbuminuric and microalbuminuric versus proteinuric for GBM, P <0.01 normoalbuminuric versus proteinuric for Vv(mes/glom)]. In patients with increased GBM width (>396 nm), CRP, SAA, and IL-6 were higher than in patients with normal GBM width (P <0.003, P <0.004, and P <0.0004, respectively). GBM width was directly correlated with fibrinogen (r = 0.33, P <0.002) and IL-6 (r = 0.25 P <0.05). In conclusion, this study demonstrates that acute-phase markers of inflammation are associated with nephropathy status and GBM thickening, suggesting a role for inflammation in the pathogenesis of diabetic glomerulopathy.
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