Rapid Growth in DKD Studies: Research Trends and Hotspots

If it seems like you’ve been seeing more published papers on diabetic kidney disease in recent years, you’re not mistaken. The number of DKD studies has risen rapidly and steadily over the past two decades, according to a review and meta-analysis published in the journal Medicine. And this study included a time period prior to the more recent spate of clinical trials.

More than 27,500 DKD papers were published from 2000 to 2017, reports the bibliometric analysis by Lu-Xi Zou, PhD, of Zhejian University and Ling Sun, MD, of’ Xuzhou Central Hospital, China. Their open access study provides insights into “structure, hotspots, and evolution trends” in DKD research.

The systematic review identified a total of 27,577 DKD studies published between 2000 and 2017. The number of papers increased over time, with growth accelerating after 2007. Research papers accounted for nearly three-fourths of the total.

The top five journals publishing DKD papers were, in order, Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, Kidney International, Diabetes, JASN, and Diabetologia. On analysis of co-citation networks, papers published in journals with higher impact factors had more citations and “greater influence in DKD research,” the authors write. Among the nephrology journals identified, JASN had the highest 5-year impact factor, followed closely by Kidney International.

“Diabetic kidney disease is a very important topic for JASN, and we are proud of the quality of research we are publishing on this critical public health issue,” said JASN Editor-in-Chief Josephine P. Briggs, MD.

The United States was the most productive country for DKD research, with 7100 publications. China was next, followed by Japan, Germany, and Italy. Analysis of country co-authorship showed very active networks of international collaboration in DKD research.

Harvard University was the top institutional producer of DKD research, followed by Steno Diabetes Center and University of Melbourne. Co-citation network analysis highlighted the contributions of H.H. Parving and colleagues during the study period—reflecting their studies establishing the renal and cardiovascular protective effects of renin angiotensin-aldosterone system blockade in patients with diabetes.

Drs. Zou and Sun discuss reasons for the burgeoning growth in DKD research, starting with the rising worldwide prevalence of diabetes. They also cite discoveries in histopathologic diagnosis, new therapeutic agents, and biomarkers, as well as the increasing ability to access and share massive volumes of medical data.

August 2019 (Vol. 11, Number 8)


1. Zou L-X, Sun L. Global diabetic kidney disease research from 2000 to 2017: a bibliometric analysis. Medicine 2019; 98: 6(e14394).