Although some studies have suggested a direct action of troglitazone on vascular cells, its effects on diabetic vascular diseases have not been reported. We therefore investigated the effect of troglitazone on microalbuminuria in patients with incipient diabetic nephropathy.
A total of 30 patients with type 2 diabetes associated with microalbuminuria (urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio [ACR] [milligrams per gram creatinine] ranging from 30 to 300 mg/g creatinine) were studied. They were randomly divided into two groups: patients treated with metformin (500 mg/day, n = 13) or with troglitazone (400 mg/day, n = 17) for 12 weeks. ACR, lipid profile, blood pressure, glycated hemoglobin, and plasma glucose during meal-load tests were measured every 4 weeks.
Anthropometric indices (BMI and percent fat), lipid profile, and blood pressure did not change with either treatment. Fasting and postmeal glucose levels decreased similarly in the two groups. Decrements in glycated hemoglobin were greater in the metformin group at 4 and 8 weeks after the initiation of treatment (P < 0.05). Troglitazone reduced ACR (median [25–75th percentiles]) from 70 (49–195) to 40 (31–90) mg/g creatinine at 4 weeks (P = 0.021) and maintained these reduced levels throughout the treatment period (8 weeks: 35 [26–68], P = 0.007; 12 weeks: 43 [26–103], P = 0.047). Metformin did not change ACR throughout the 12 weeks.
Troglitazone ameliorated microalbuminuria in diabetic nephropathy. Furthermore, our findings suggest that troglitazone has some effects on vascular cells other than lowering plasma glucose levels. Troglitazone might be useful for diabetic angiopathy, including nephropathy and coronary artery disease.