A commonality among the chemically disparate compounds that inhibit the formation and accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) or their signalling pathways is their end organ protection in experimental models of diabetes complications. Although this group of therapeutics are structurally and functionally distinct with numerous mechanisms of action, the most important factor governing their therapeutic capability is clearly their ability to alleviate the tissue burden of advanced glycation, rather than the biochemical mechanism by which this is achieved. However, it remains to be determined if it is the reduction in tissue AGE levels per se or inhibition of downstream signal pathways which is ultimately required for end organ protection. For example, a number of these agents stimulate antioxidant defences, modify lipid profiles and inhibit low-grade inflammation. These novel actions emphasise the importance of further examination of the advanced glycation pathway and in particular the diverse action of these agents in ameliorating the development of diabetic complications such as nephropathy.

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