Diabetic men more prone than women to kidney disease due to differences in metabolism (study)

Men diagnosed with diabetes are more exposed to the risk of suffering from a kidney disease known as nephropathy, compared to women, which is partially explained by the differences in metabolism between the two sexes, reports EFE on Wednesday, quoted by Agerpres.

Diabetic men are more prone than women to kidney disease. PHOTO Shutterstock

This is the conclusion of an international study published in the scientific journal Science Translational Medicine, in which the Hospital del Mar Research Institute from Barcelona, ​​Spain participated.

Researchers say men with diabetes are at a higher risk than women of developing the kidney disease associated with the condition, called diabetic nephropathy, a serious complication that causes damage to the kidneys and an increased vascular risk.

Responsible for approximately 30% of dialysis patients, diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of kidney transplantation.

The new study demonstrated that some of these differences are associated with energy metabolism, the process by which cells generate energy.

“More injuries in men”

The study found substantial differences in this process between the sexes, with different characteristics observed between men's and women's renal tubular cells.

“Energy metabolism at the renal level produces more lesions in men, which translates into markers of a less favorable renal evolution and a higher mortality from any cause”, explained Dr. Clara Barrios, assistant physician in the Nephrology Service and researcher at the Hospital del Mar Institute.

In this regard, the researchers concluded that the use of glucose in the metabolic process to generate energy in people with diabetes may cause more kidney damage in men.

“Male tubular cells have more active mitochondrial respiration, which leads to an increase in oxidative stress (inability to remove unstable molecules from the body) and programmed cell death (apoptosis)“, said Dr. Marta Riera, researcher at the same institute, Hospital del Mar.

“When we simulate diabetes, men's renal tubular cells increase the number of markers of damage compared to women'sshe said.

Men's cells use more glucose and more glutamine

In fact, men's cells use more glucose and also more glutamine (the most abundant amino acid in the body) in energy metabolic pathways, although they produce less pyruvate, a key compound in energy metabolism, compared to women.

The mentioned aspect is directly associated with the presence of male hormones, as demonstrated by the monitoring over a period of five years of the studied patients, three groups in different stages of the diabetic disease.

“In the near future, we are moving towards a personalized treatment for people with diabetes and chronic kidney disease“, said Dr. María José Soler from the Nephrology Department of the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital (VHIR) in Barcelona.

Following these conclusions, a series of markers can also be used as prognostic factors for mortality and adverse patient outcomes and for evaluating their response to treatments.