Diabetic Retinopathy and Microalbuminuria Can Predict Macroalbuminuria and Renal Function Decline in Japanese Type 2 Diabetic Patients

Japan Diabetes Complications Study

  1. for the Japan Diabetes Complication Study Group
  1. 1Health Care Center, Kitasato University, Kanagawa, Japan
  2. 2Translational Research Center, Kyoto University Hospital, Kyoto, Japan
  3. 3Department of Ophthalmology, Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan
  4. 4Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  5. 5Institute for Adult Disease, Asahi Life Foundation, Tokyo, Japan
  6. 6Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tsukuba Institute of Clinical Medicine, Tsukuba, Japan
  7. 7Department of Internal Medicine, Niigata University of Faculty of Medicine, Niigata, Japan
  8. 8Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, School of Medicine, Saitama Medical University, Saitama, Japan
  1. Corresponding author: Tatsumi Moriya, moriy{at}


OBJECTIVE To examine the interactive relationship between diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic nephropathy (DN) in type 2 diabetic patients, and to elucidate the role of DR and microalbuminuria on the onset of macroalbuminuria and renal function decline.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We explored the effects of DR and microalbuminuria on the progression of DN from normoalbuminuria and low microalbuminuria (<150 mg/gCr) to macroalbuminuria or renal function decline in the Japan Diabetes Complications Study (JDCS), which is a nationwide randomized controlled study of type 2 diabetic patients focusing on lifestyle modification. Patients were divided into four groups according to presence or absence of DR and MA: normoalbuminuria without DR [NA(DR−)] (n = 773), normoalbuminuria with DR [NA(DR+)] (n = 279), microalbuminuria without DR [MA(DR−)] (n = 277), and microalbuminuria with DR [MA(DR+)] (n = 146). Basal urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio and DR status were determined at baseline and followed for a median of 8.0 years.

RESULTS Annual incidence rates of macroalbuminuria were 1.6/1,000 person-years (9 incidences), 3.9/1,000 person-years (8 incidences), 18.4/1,000 person-years (34 incidences), and 22.1/1,000 person-years (22 incidences) in the four groups, respectively. Multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios of the progression to macroalbuminuria were 2.48 (95% CI 0.94–6.50; P = 0.07), 10.40 (4.91–22.03; P < 0.01), and 11.55 (5.24–25.45; P < 0.01) in NA(DR+), MA(DR−), and MA(DR+), respectively, in comparison with NA(DR−). Decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) per year was two to three times faster in MA(DR+) (−1.92 mL/min/1.73 m2/year) than in the other groups.

CONCLUSIONS In normo- and low microalbuminuric Japanese type 2 diabetic patients, presence of microalbuminuria at baseline was associated with higher risk of macroalbuminuria in 8 years. Patients with microalbuminuria and DR showed the fastest GFR decline. Albuminuria and DR should be considered as risk factors of renal prognosis in type 2 diabetic patients. An open sharing of information will benefit both ophthalmologists and diabetologists.

  • Received November 12, 2012.
  • Accepted March 12, 2013.

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This Article

  1. Diabetes Care
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