Nephroprotective action of glycosaminoglycans: why the pharmacological properties of sulodexide might be reconsidered

Giovanni Gambaro, Antonio V Gaddi, Arrigo Fg Cicero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


A relatively large body of evidence supports the notion that glomerular capillary wall and mesangial alterations in diabetic nephropathy involve biochemical alterations of glycoproteins in these structures. Evidence in experimental animals rendered diabetic reveals that the administration of heparin and other anionic glycoproteins can effectively prevent the biochemical alterations that promote albuminuria. Moreover, angiotensin II inhibits heparan sulfate synthesis, while heparins modulate angiotensin II signaling in glomerular cells, inhibiting aldosterone synthesis and lowering proteinuria in diabetes patients. Sulodexide, a mixture of heparin and dermatan sulfate, appears to be a promising treatment for diabetic proteinuria partially resistant to renin-angiotensin system blocking agents. Sulodexide prevents heparan sulfate degradation, thus allowing reconstruction of heparan sulfate content and restoration of glomerular basement membrane ionic permselectivity. The antiproteinuric effect appears to be mainly related to the basal proteinuria and consequently to the duration of treatment in a relatively large number of small clinical trials. On the other hand, several sulodexide pharmacodynamic properties could improve the prognosis of chronic kidney disease patients, also independently from its antiproteinuric effect. However, sulodexide development as an antiproteinuric drug needs to be continued, in order to define which kind of patients could better respond to this treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-105
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Nephrology and Renovascular Disease
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • diabetic nephropathy


Dive into the research topics of 'Nephroprotective action of glycosaminoglycans: why the pharmacological properties of sulodexide might be reconsidered'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this