The renoprotective effect of esaxerenone independent of blood pressure lowering: a post hoc mediation analysis of the ESAX-DN trial

Yasuyuki Okuda, Sadayoshi Ito, Naoki Kashihara, Kenichi Shikata, Masaomi Nangaku, Takashi Wada, Tomoko Sawanobori, Masataka Taguri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) are recommended as first-line drugs for hypertension with diabetic nephropathy owing to their renoprotective effect; however, their effect beyond lowering blood pressure (BP) has not been confirmed. Recent studies have shown that aldosterone plays a key role in causing renal injury; therefore, it is likely that mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) blockers inhibit aldosterone-induced renal damage in different ways from ACE inhibitors and ARBs. Therefore, we investigated the mechanism of the effect of an MR blocker on reducing the urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) using data from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 study (ESAX-DN) of a new nonsteroidal MR blocker, esaxerenone. This post hoc analysis used a novel statistical method to quantitatively estimate the effect of esaxerenone on UACR reduction mediated, or not mediated, by changes in systolic BP (SBP) and/or estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The proportion of the mediated effect by SBP changes to the total effect on UACR reduction was 9.8–10.7%; the UACR was reduced to 0.903–0.911 times the baseline at the end of treatment through the SBP-related pathway and to 0.422–0.426 times the baseline through the non-SBP-related pathway. Even considering both SBP and eGFR simultaneously, the proportion of the mediated effect was 21.9–28.1%. These results confirm that esaxerenone has a direct UACR-lowering effect independent of BP lowering and that its magnitude is much larger than that of the BP-dependent effect. Thus, esaxerenone could be a UACR-reducing treatment option for patients with diabetic nephropathy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHypertension Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood pressure
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Esaxerenone
  • Hypertension
  • Mediation analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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