What is it about?

Low blood magnesium levels are common (30%) in patients with type 2 diabetes. In this article we show that inducing type 2 diabetes in mice directly results in a reduced blood magnesium concentration. Moreover, when providing the type 2 diabetes mice with a restricted dietary magnesium content, these mice develop massive accumulations of fat inside the cells of the kidney, specifically the proximal tubule cells.

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Why is it important?

It is unclear if type 2 diabetes is the cause of reduced blood magnesium levels, or whether the low magnesium contributes to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In this article we have shown that the reduced magnesium levels are a consequence of type 2 diabetes. It has been shown that type 2 diabetes patients with lower blood magnesium levels have a more rapid renal decline. Our results indicate that a reduced blood magnesium concentration leads to fat accumulations inside the cells of the kidney, known as renal phospholipidosis, with concomitant renal damage. This could be the underlying mechanism by which magnesium levels affect renal function in type 2 diabetes patients.


The findings in this article propose a new mechanism by which magnesium deficiency can affect renal function in type 2 diabetes. However, the findings have to be translated towards humans.

Steef Kurstjens

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Renal phospholipidosis and impaired magnesium handling in high-fat-diet–fed mice, The FASEB Journal, March 2019, Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology (FASEB), DOI: 10.1096/fj.201801778rr.
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