The earliest manifestations of clinical diabetic nephropathy, including proteinuria, hypertension, and declining GFR, represent very advanced diabetic glomerulopathy with especially prominent mesangial expansion. Mesangial expansion, by restricting glomerular capillary filtration surface and lumenal volume, stimulates compensatory mechanisms analogous to those resulting from a marked reduction in nephron number. These compensatory mechanisms involve alterations in glomerular hemodynamics designed to maintain glomerular filtration but which ultimately injure the kidney. These hemodynamic perturbations are not specific to diabetes but represent a final common pathway toward endstage renal failure that also characterizes the remnant kidney. This thesis concludes that the onset of clinical diabetic nephropathy augurs inevitable decline in kidney function, and that only studies and interventions exercised before clinical nephropathy develops can influence understanding and outcome of diabetic nephropathy.

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