Obesity predisposes toward renal disease independently of diabetes and hypertension. In this issue of the JCI, Sharma and colleagues assessed the role of adiponectin, an adipose-derived hormone, in the pathogenesis of albuminuria (see the related article beginning on page 1645). Obese African Americans had reduced adiponectin levels associated with albuminuria. Adiponectin deficiency in mice induced oxidative stress, fusion of podocyte foot processes in the kidney glomerulus, and urinary albumin excretion. Adiponectin treatment reversed these abnormalities, likely through activation of AMPK. The benefits of adiponectin were observed in diabetic and nondiabetic mice. These findings suggest that adiponectin is a biomarker for kidney disease and may be targeted for prevention and treatment.
Rexford S. Ahima