Researchers reveal how diabetic kidney disease could be slowed

Diabetes UK is reporting how its new study investigating diabetic kidney disease has revealed how its progression could be slowed down by a commonly used blood pressure medication.

In their new study, ran by an international team including its researchers at the University of Bristol, Diabetes UK scientists discovered how spironolactone – a medication used to treat high blood pressure – could help to protect the kidney’s blood vessels.

They studied kidney samples from people with diabetes who had kidney damage and found that spironolactone works by preserving a gel-like layer that coats and protects our blood vessels, called the glycocalx. Having developed an innovative way to measure changes in the thickness of the glycocalyx, they then discovered that spironolactone prevents damage to the glycocalyx layer by reducing the activity of a group of enzymes.

The researchers now plan to study different drugs that also target this group of enzymes to see if any of them hold potential to treat kidney damage, but without any of the adverse side effects (including high potassium levels), which spironolactone can cause.

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