New research shows that chronic kidney disease shares a link to the development of type 2 diabetes.
The findings were made by scientists at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, who believe that, should their findings be confirmed in further studies, patients with chronic kidney disease might require antioxidants to protect against type 2 diabetes.
Chronic kidney disease occurs when patients suffer a loss of kidney function, and can no longer eliminate toxins from the blood. Patients have to either undergo kidney transplantation or dialysis to get rid of these toxins.
In new observations of mice and human samples of chronic kidney disease, Montreal researchers found that around half had elevated blood glucose levels.
When they investigated further, they also noted that the samples had impaired insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells, which occurs in type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a known cause of chronic kidney disease, and lead researcher Dr Vincent Poitout insists that the opposite is also true.
“We identified molecular mechanisms that may be responsible for increased blood glucose levels in patients with non-diabetic chronic kidney disease. Our observations in mice and in human samples show that the disease can cause secondary diabetes,” he said.
Poitout’s team believe that when the kidneys fail, a waste product called urea builds up in the blood. This is normally filtered by the kidneys and excreted in urine, but not in patients with chronic kidney disease.
“In patients with chronic renal failure, the kidneys are no longer able to eliminate toxins. Urea is part of this cocktail of waste that accumulates in the blood.
“This study demonstrates that urea is directly responsible for impaired insulin secretion in chronic kidney disease,” said Laetitia Koppe Koppe, who worked on the study.
The study team now plan to conduct further studies to validate these findings in humans, which could lead to new treatment approaches to protect beta cells in people with kidney disease.
The findings appear in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.