Blood pressure reduction and RAAS inhibition in diabetic kidney disease: therapeutic potentials and limitations

Giovanna Leoncini, Francesca Viazzi, Salvatore De Cosmo, Giuseppina Russo, Paola Fioretto, Roberto Pontremoli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) affects approximately one-third of patients with diabetes and taking into consideration the high cardiovascular risk burden associated to this condition a multifactorial therapeutic approach is traditionally recommended, in which glucose and blood pressure control play a central role. The inhibition of renin–angiotensin–aldosterone RAAS system represent traditionally the cornerstone of DKD. Clinical outcome trials have demonstrated clinical significant benefit in slowing nephropathy progression mainly in the presence of albuminuria. Thus, international guidelines mandate their use in such patients. Given the central role of RAAS activity in the pathogenesis and progression of renal and cardiovascular damage, a more profound inhibition of the system by the use of multiple agents has been proposed in the past, especially in the presence of proteinuria, however clinical trials have failed to confirm the usefulness of this therapeutic approach. Furthermore, whether strict blood pressure control and pharmacologic RAAS inhibition entails a favorable renal outcome in non-albuminuric patients is at present unclear. This aspect is becoming an important issue in the management of DKD since nonalbuminuric DKD is currently the prevailing presenting phenotype. For these reasons it would be advisable that blood pressure management should be tailored in each subject on the basis of the renal phenotype as well as related comorbidities. This article reviews the current literature and discusses potentials and limitation of targeting the RAAS in order to provide the greatest renal protection in DKD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-963
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Nephrology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Albuminuria
  • Blood pressure
  • Diabetic kidney disease
  • RAAS inhibition
  • Renal progression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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