Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the major cause of end-stage renal disease in Western countries and its prevalence continues to increase (United States Renal Data System 2010, http://www.usrds.org/). Treatments currently utilised for DN provide only partial renoprotection, hence the need to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention. Metabolic and haemodynamic abnormalities have been implicated in the pathogenesis of DN, triggering the activation of intracellular signaling molecules that lead to the dysregulation of vascular growth factors and cytokines, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietins, important players in the functional and structural regulation of the glomerular filtration barrier. This review focuses on the importance of VEGF-A and angiopoietins in kidney physiology and in the diabetic kidney, exploring their potential therapeutic role in the prevention and delay of diabetic glomerulopathy.
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