The most problematic issue in clinical nephrology worldwide is the relentless and progressive increase in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Diabetic nephropathy has considerable impact on society in the areas of public health and social economy; many scientists are involved in research for the elucidation of the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy and for the prevention and cure of the disease. In contrast, diabetic nephropathy was a neglected or ignored disease in the historical era, and few dedicated physicians recognized the disease process of diabetic nephropathy. In this review, we look back on the history of basic and clinical research on diabetic nephropathy and survey the recent progress of the research, especially focusing on the contribution of Japanese scientists.
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