JAK1/JAK2 inhibition by baricitinib in diabetic kidney disease: Results from a Phase 2 randomized controlled clinical trial

Katherine R. Tuttle, Frank C. Brosius, Sharon G. Adler, Matthias Kretzler, Ravindra L. Mehta, James A. Tumlin, Yoshiya Tanaka, Masakazu Haneda, Jiajun Liu, Maria E. Silk, Tracy E. Cardillo, Kevin L. Duffin, Joseph V. Haas, William L. Macias, Fabio P. Nunes, Jonathan M. Janes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Background Inflammation signaled by Janus kinases (JAKs) promotes progression of diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Baricitinib is an oral, reversible, selective inhibitor of JAK1 and JAK2. This study tested the efficacy of baricitinib versus placebo on albuminuria in adults with Type 2 diabetes at high risk for progressive DKD. Methods In this Phase 2, double-blind, dose-ranging study, participants were randomized 1:1:1:1:1 to receive placebo or baricitinib (0.75 mg daily; 0.75 mg twice daily; 1.5 mg daily; or 4 mg daily), for 24 weeks followed by 4-8 weeks of washout. Results Participants (N = 129) were 63±9.1 (mean±standard deviation) years of age, 27.1% (35/129) women and 11.6% (15/129) African-American race. Baseline hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was 7.3±1% and estimated glomerular filtration rate was 45.0±12.1 mL/min/1.73 m 2 with first morning urine albumin-creatinine ratio (UACR) of 820 (407-1632) (median; interquartile range) mg/g. Baricitinib, 4 mg daily, decreased morning UACR by 41% at Week 24 compared with placebo (ratio to baseline 0.59, 95% confidence interval 0.38-0.93, P = 0.022). UACR was decreased at Weeks 12 and 24 and after 4-8 weeks of washout. Baricitinib 4 mg decreased inflammatory biomarkers over 24 weeks (urine C-X-C motif chemokine 10 and urine C-C motif ligand 2, plasma soluble tumor necrosis factor receptors 1 and 2, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and serum amyloid A). The only adverse event rate that differed between groups was anemia at 32.0% (8/25) for baricitinib 4 mg daily versus 3.7% (1/27) for placebo. Conclusions Baricitinib decreased albuminuria in participants with Type 2 diabetes and DKD. Further research is required to determine if baricitinib reduces DKD progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1950-1959
Number of pages10
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • JAK inhibition
  • albuminuria
  • biomarkers
  • diabetic nephropathy
  • estimated glomerular filtration rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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