Consequences of glomerular hyperfiltration: The role of physical forces in the pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease in diabetes and obesity

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Background: Glomerular hyperfiltration (GH) is a hallmark of renal dysfunction in diabetes and obesity. Recent clinical trials demonstrated that SGLT2 inhibitors are renoprotective, possibly by abating hyperfiltration. The present review considers the current evidence for a cause-to-effect relationship between hyperfiltration-related physical forces and the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Summary: Glomerular hyperfiltration is associated with glomerular and tubular hypertrophy. Hyperfiltration is mainly due to an increase in glomerular capillary pressure, which increases tensile stress applied to the capillary wall structures. In addition, the increased ultrafiltrate flow into Bowman's space heightens shear stress on the podocyte foot processes and body surface. These mechanical stresses lead to an increase in glomerular basement membrane (GBM) length and to podocyte hypertrophy. The ability of the podocyte to grow being limited, a mismatch develops between the GBM area and the GBM area covered by foot processes, leading to podocyte injury, detachment of viable podocytes, adherence of capillaries to parietal epithelium, synechia formation and segmental sclerosis. Mechanical stress is also applied to post-filtration structures, resulting in dilation of glomerular and tubular urinary spaces, increased proximal tubular sodium reabsorption by hypertrophied epithelial cells and activation of mediators leading to tubulointerstitial inflammation, hypoxia and fibrosis Key Messages: GH-related mechanical stress leads to both adaptive and maladaptive glomerular and tubular changes. These flow-related effects play a central role in the pathogenesis of glomerular disease. Attenuation of hyperfiltration is thus an important therapeutic target in diabetes and obesity-induced CKD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-42
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Diabesity
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Glomerular hypertrophy
  • Hydrodynamic forces
  • Mechanical forces
  • Obesity
  • Segmental glomerulosclerosis
  • Shear stress
  • Tensile stress
  • Tubular hypertrophy


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