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New Understanding Of Diabetes And Kidney Disease May Lead To Effective New Treatments

Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center have identified biological mechanisms by which glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a gut hormone, protects against kidney disease, and also mechanisms that inhibit its actions in diabetes. The findings, which are reported online by Diabetes, may lead to the development of new therapeutic agents that harness the actions of GLP-1 to prevent the harmful effects of hyperglycemia on renal endothelial cells. 



Renal complications, also known as diabetic nephropathy, are one of the most life-threatening complications of diabetes that often lead over time to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). About a half million people in the US - 44 percent of whom are diabetics - have ESRD, which requires dialysis or kidney transplantation. As a result, investigating the relationship of diabetes to renal dysfunction is a major focus of diabetes research. "We are very eager to develop new treatments for diabetic kidney disease," says George King, M.D., lead author of the study, and chief scientific officer, head of the Dianne Nunnally Hoppes Laboratory for Diabetes Complications and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. 

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