OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the antiplatelet drug dilazep dihydrochloride affects the number of urinary podocytes in diabetic patients with microalbuminuria. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Fifty patients with type 2 diabetes and microalbuminuria (30 men and 20 women, mean age 48.6 years) and 30 age-matched control subjects (18 men and 12 women, mean age 49.2 years) were included in the study. No patients showed serum creatinine levels in excess of 2.0 mg/dl. Urinary podocytes were examined by immunofluorescence microscopy with monoclonal antibodies against podocalyxin. RESULTS: Urinary podocytes were detected in 18 of the 50 microalbuminuric diabetic patients (mean, 1.3 cells/ml). Urinary podocytes were not detected in the remaining 32 patients or in the 30 healthy control subjects. Diabetic patients positive for urinary podocytes were divided into 2 treatment groups: a dilazep dihydrochloride treatment group (300 mg/day; n = 9, group A) and a placebo group (n = 9, group B). Treatments were continued for 6 months. In group A, microalbuminuria decreased significantly from 146 +/- 42 to 86 +/- 28 microg/min (P < 0.01) and urinary podocytes also decreased from 1.3 +/- 0.8 to 0.4 +/- 0.2 cells/ml (P < 0.01). However, in group B, microalbuminuria and urinary podocytes changed little over the study period. CONCLUSIONS: Podocyte injury may occur in patients with early diabetic nephropathy, and dilazep dihydrochloride may be useful for preventing glomerular injury.

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