Dietary cod-liver oil containing eicosapentaenoic acid is effective on microvascular albumin leakage in diabetic patients with albuminuria. We determined the long-term effects of oral pure eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl (EPA-E: 900 mg/day) administration on diabetic nephropathy in non-insulin dependent diabetic (NIDDM) patients.

The effects of EPA-E were determined by observing the changes of the index of urine albumin excretion level/urine creatinine (Cr) excretion level (UAI), the ratio of beta 2-microglobulin excretion level/urine Cr excretion level (beta 2-MG/Cr) and the ratio of N-acetyl-D-glucosaminidase excretion level/urine Cr excretion level (NAG/Cr) at 3, 6 and 12 months after the start of the treatment. Oral EPA-E administration immediately improved the increased UAI at 3 months after the start of treatment.

A significant improvement of the UAI by EPA-E was sustained 12 months later. EPA E administration also tended to decrease the urine beta 2-MG/Cr ratio from 6 months, but the difference was statistically not significant. However, the urine NAG/Cr ratio was not changed by EPA-E administration. EPA-E administration did not affect blood pressure levels, glycemic control and lipid metabolism in these patients.

The present data indicated that EPA-E administration improved increased albumin excretion in NIDDM patients with nephropathy and its effects on albuminuria sustained for at least 12 months after the start of treatment. However, tubular factors were not influenced by EPA-E administration.