An accelerated polyol pathway in diabetes contributes to the development of diabetic complications. To elucidate diabetic nephropathy involving also renal tubular damage, we measured urinary sorbitol concentration concomitantly with urinary N-acetyl-D-glucosaminidase (NAG) excretion in WBN-kob diabetic rats.Twenty-four-hour urinary sorbitol concentrations increased in the diabetic rats in parallel with whole blood sorbitol concentrations. An increase in 24-h urinary NAG excretion coincided with the elevated urinary sorbitol levels in the diabetic rats. The administration of epalrestat, an aldose reductase inhibitor, reduced the increased whole blood and urinary sorbitol concentrations and urinary NAG excretion concomitantly with renal aldose reductase inhibition in the diabetic rats.These results indicate that diabetic nephropathy involves distorted cell function of renal tubules, and that treatment with epalrestat may prevent at least the progress of the nephropathy.
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