Endocrinol Metab.  2021 Apr;36(2):256-269. 10.3803/EnM.2021.987.

Cardiorenal Protection in Diabetic Kidney Disease

  • 1Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, University Health Network, ON, Canada
  • 2Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 3Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, University of Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 4Applied Health Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St Michael’s Hospital, ON, Canada
  • 5Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 6Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada


Over the last 5 years there have been many new developments in the management of diabetic kidney disease. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA) and sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors were initially used for glycemic control, but more recent studies have now shown that their benefits extend to cardiovascular and kidney outcomes. The recent addition of data on the novel mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist (MRA) gives us another approach to further decrease the residual risk of diabetic kidney disease progression. In this review we describe the mechanism of action, key studies, and possible adverse effects related to these three classes of medications. The management of type 2 diabetes now includes an increasing number of medications for the management of comorbidities in a patient population at significant risk of cardiovascular disease and progression of chronic kidney disease. It is from this perspective that we seek to outline the rationale for the sequential and/or combined use of SGLT2 inhibitors, GLP-1 RA and MRAs in patients with type 2 diabetes for heart and kidney protection.


Diabetes mellitus; type 2; Diabetic nephropathies; Heart failure; Cardiovascular diseases; Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor; Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists; Sodium-glucose transporter 2 inhibitors; Renal insufficiency; chronic
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