The effects of dual blockade of the renin-angiotensin system on urinary protein and transforming growth factor-beta excretion in 2 groups of patients with IgA and diabetic nephropathy

J H Song, S W Lee, J H Suh, E S Kim, S B Hong, K A Kim, M J Kim
Clinical Nephrology 2003, 60 (5): 318-26

AIMS: The therapeutic benefits of dual blockade of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) have been inconsistent on renal function and proteinuria. To know the contribution of the heterogeneity of study subjects to such inconsistency, we evaluated the effects of dual blockade of RAS in 2 groups of selected renal diseases, IgA and diabetic nephropathy. To avoid confounding by the blood pressure-reducing effects, angiotensin II receptor antagonists (ATRAs) were added on the patients with long-term, optimally controlled blood pressure taking ACE inhibitors. Twenty-four-hour urinary protein excretion rate and urinary TGF-beta1 level were measured as surrogate markers of renal injury.

METHODS: We conducted a prospective crossover trial with 14 IgA and 18 type-2-diabetic nephropathy patients showing moderate degree of proteinuria (> or = 1.0 g/day) and renal dysfunction (creatinine clearance 25 - 75/ml/min). Four to 8 mg once-daily dose of candesartan and placebo were alternatively added on ramipril dose of 5 - 7.5 mg/day for 16 weeks.

RESULTS: All baseline data except for the age factor were statistically the same between the 2 disease groups. Twenty-four-hour mean arterial blood pressures were 91.2 +/- 1.6 and 92.3 +/- 1.8 mmHg in IgA and diabetic nephropathy patients respectively at baseline (p = NS). Mean arterial pressure did not change by the addition of candesartan or placebo in both groups. The addition of candesartan (combination) reduced 24-hour urinary protein excretion rate in IgA nephropathy patients with a mean change of -12.3 +/- 4.5%, which is significantly greater compared to a mean change of -0.1 +/- 3.3% after the addition of placebo (placebo) (mean difference 12.4 +/- 5.0, 95% CI 1.2 - 23.5; p < 0.05). Urinary TGF-beta1 level was reduced considerably by the combination therapy, with a -28.9 +/- 6.0% decrease, which was significantly different to that by the placebo, with +4.3 +/- 12.4% (33.3 +/- 13.5, 3.2 - 63.3; p < 0.05). In diabetic nephropathy patients, the addition of candesartan did not reduce 24-hour urinary protein excretion rate. Mean changes of 24-hour urinary protein excretion rate were -0.8 +/- 4.7% by the combination therapy and +0.5 +/- 6.1% by placebo (mean difference 1.3 +/- 4.7, 95% CI -6.8 - 13.5; p < NS). The level of urinary TGF-beta1 was reduced by the combination therapy, with -14.3 +/- 9.5% decrease, but it did not reach statistical significance compared to placebo of +0.7 +/- 15.5% (15.0 +/- 13.5, -14.4 - 44.5; p < NS). The changes in 24-hour urinary protein excretion rate and urinary TGF-beta1 level were neither correlated with each other, nor with the change in mean arterial pressure. Significant changes in the renal function were not detected during the study period.

CONCLUSION: Definite beneficial effects of dual blockade of RAS on proteinuria and TGF-beta1 excretion were found in IgA nephropathy patients, which was independent of blood pressure-reducing effect. With our 16-week trial, such benefits were not observed in type 2 diabetic nephropathy. The reduction in urinary TGF-beta1 level suggests that the combination therapy may provide additional renoprotection through the antisclerosing effects. Based on our results, for a proper interpretation the therapeutic effects of the combination therapy should be evaluated separately according to the underlying renal disease.

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