There is an urgent need to identify novel interventions for mitigating the progression of diabetic nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy is characterized by progressive renal fibrosis, in which tubulointerstitial fibrosis has been shown to be the final common pathway of all forms of chronic progressive renal disease, including diabetic nephropathy. Therefore targeting the possible mechanisms that drive this process may provide novel therapeutics which allow the prevention and potentially retardation of the functional decline in diabetic nephropathy. Recently, the Ca2+-activated K+ channel KCa3.1 (KCa3.1) has been suggested as a potential therapeutic target for nephropathy, based on its ability to regulate Ca2+ entry into cells and modulate Ca2+-signalling processes. In the present review, we focus on the physiological role of KCa3.1 in those cells involved in the tubulointerstitial fibrosis, including proximal tubular cells, fibroblasts, inflammatory cells (T-cells and macrophages) and endothelial cells. Collectively these studies support further investigation into KCa3.1 as a therapeutic target in diabetic nephropathy.

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