Early predication and intervention of diabetic nephropathy is increasingly imperative. Hyperhomocysteinemia is common and chronically induces arteriolar thickening, and tubulointerstitial and podocyte injury, therefore, could play a causative role in early renal injury in the kidney in type 2 diabetes. In this study, we for the first time investigated the relation of plasma total homocysteine concentration to early nephropathy in type 2 diabetes. We enrolled 183 type 2 diabetic patients in a cross-sectional study. Early diabetic nephropathy status was diagnosed by presence of microalbuminuria. Plasma total homocysteine levels were measured using fluorescence polarization immunoassay. Variables for diabetic nephropathy were obtained from fasting blood samples and interviewer- questionnaire. We found that plasma total homocysteine concentrations were elevated in subjects with early diabetic nephropathy than without (13.3±2.9)µmol/l vs. (8.5 ± 1.4)μmol/l, p < 0.01). The association of homocysteine with the diabetic nephropathy was independent of major traditional risk factors for diabetic nephropathy (duration of diabetes, HbA1c, and blood pressure) and determinants of higher homocysteine concentration (age, sex, serum folate and vitamin B12, Biguanide use, and serum cystatin or creatinine levels,) (OR: 1.36 (1.08-1.74), p < 0.05). Furthermore, per increase of 5.0 μmol/l plasma homocysteine was related to early nephropathy (OR: 1.15 (1.04-1.29), p < 0.05), after controlling for per unit increase of other factors: per 5 year increase of duration of diabetes, per 1% increase of HbA1c, per 10 nmol/l increase of serum folate, per 100 pmol/l increase of serum B12, per 0.1 mg/L increase of serum cystatin or per 10 μmol/l increase of creatinine, and per 10 or 5 mmHg increase of systolic or diastolic blood pressure. We concluded that plasma total homocysteine concentration was independently associated with occurrence of early diabetic nephropathy. Future prospective studies are warranted.


J. Li: None. Q. Lv: None. H. Lu: None. H. Zhang: None. J. Zhou: None.


National Natural Science Foundation of China (81070655); Jiangsu Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (BK2009441)

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