Genetic factors are important in conferring diabetic nephropathy (DN) risk. The insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism of the ACE gene has been described to be associated with DN risk and progression. The renal lesions underlying DN in type 2 diabetes are heterogeneous; only a subset of patients, characterized by a faster decline of renal function, have diabetic glomerulopathy. This study explored the relations between diabetic glomerulopathy and the ACE genotype distribution in 77 type 2 diabetic patients with an albumin excretion rate ≥20 μg/min. Using morphometric analysis of kidney biopsies, mesangial and mesangial matrix fractional volumes [Vv(mes/glom) and Vv(MM/glom)] and glomerular basement membrane (GBM) width were estimated. We found that 13 patients were II, 30 were ID, and 34 were DD. Clinical features and renal function were similar in the three groups; in contrast, the DD patients had the highest Vv(MM/glom) and GBM width. Subdividing patients in tertiles of GBM width and Vv(MM/glom), from the lowest (I) to the highest (III) values, the DD carriers had an odds ratio of 6.11 (95% CI 1.84–20.3) and 10.67 (2.51–45.36), respectively, for the likelihood of being in tertile III than I for GBM width and Vv(MM/glom). Multiple regression analysis revealed the I/D polymorphism as an independent determinant of GBM thickening in addition to diabetes duration and HbA1c. In conclusion, the ACE DD genotype is associated with diabetic glomerulopathy lesions, making the study of this polymorphism helpful in identifying those type 2 diabetic patients at higher risk of fast DN progression.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Paola Fioretto, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Padova, via Giustiniani 2, 35128 Padova, Italy. E-mail:.
Received for publication 9 January 2001 and accepted in revised form 18 October 2001.
AER, albumin excretion rate; ANCOVA, analysis of covariance; ANOVA, analysis of variance; DN, diabetic nephropathy; GFR, glomerular filtration rate; GBM, glomerular basement membrane; OR, odds ratio; PCR, polymerase chain reaction; Vv(mes/glom), mesangial fractional volume; Vv(MM/glom), mesangial matrix fractional volume.