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Journal of Diabetes Research
Volume 2013, Article ID 489869, 8 pages
Clinical Study

Advanced Diabetic Nephropathy with Nephrotic Range Proteinuria: A Pilot Study of the Long-Term Efficacy of Subcutaneous ACTH Gel on Proteinuria, Progression of CKD, and Urinary Levels of VEGF and MCP-1

1Internal Medicine/Nephrology, University of Tennessee College Medicine, Chattanooga, TN 37403, USA
2Southeast Renal Research Institute, 45 East Main Street, Chattanooga, TN 37408, USA
3Renal Division, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

Received 21 April 2013; Revised 9 June 2013; Accepted 10 June 2013

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Paolisso

Copyright © 2013 J. A. Tumlin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background and Objective. Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is able to reduce proteinuria in nondiabetic glomerulopathies through activation of melanocortin receptors (MCR) expressed in the podocyte. To determine the efficacy of ACTH, we conducted a randomized, open-label pilot trial of ACTH gel in patients with advanced diabetic nephropathy. Study Design. Twenty-three (23) patients with diabetic nephropathy were randomized to daily subcutaneous (SQ) injections of 16 or 32 units of ACTH gel for six months. Outcome. The primary endpoint was the percentage of patients achieving a complete remission (<300 mg/24 hours) within 6 months. Exploratory endpoints included the percentage of partial (50% reduction) remissions, changes in Cr, and urinary cytokine markers. Results. After 6 months of ACTH gel therapy, 8 of 14 (57%) patients achieved a complete ( ) or partial ( ) remission. In the low-dose ACTH gel group (16 units), urinary protein fell from to  mg/24 hrs ( ). In contrast, 2 of 6 patients in the 32-unit group achieved partial remission, but aggregate proteinuria ( to  mg/24 hours) did not change. Urinary VEGF increased from 388 to 1346 pg/mg urinary creatinine ( ) in the low-dose group but remained unchanged in the high-dose group. Conclusion. ACTH gel stabilizes renal function and reduces urinary protein for up to 6 months after treatment. The identifier is NCT01028287.