BackgroundDiabetic kidney disease (DKD) is one of the most important complications of diabetic mellitus. It is essential for nephrologists to understand the evolution and development trends of DKD.MethodsBased on the total cited numbers in the Web of Science Core Collection, which was searched through September 28th, 2020, we performed a bibliometric analysis of the top 100 most cited full-length original articles on the subject of DKD. The timespans, authors, contributions, subcategories, and topics of those 100 articles were analysed. In addition, the evolution of topics in DKD research was investigated.ResultsThere were 23,968 items under the subject of DKD in the Web of Science Core Collection. The top 100 cited articles, published from 1999 to 2017, were cited 38,855 times in total. Researchers from the USA contributed the most publications. The number of articles included in ‘Experimental studies (EG)’, ‘Clinical studies (CS)’, ‘Epidemiological studies (ES)’, and ‘Pathological and pathophysiological studies (PP)’ were 65, 26, 7, and 2, respectively. Among the 15 topics, the most popular topic is the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), occurring in 26 articles, including 6 of the top 10 most cited articles. The evolution of topics reveals that the role of RAAS inhibitor is a continuous hotspot, and sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist are two renoprotective agents which represent novel therapeutic methods in DKD. In addition, the 26 clinical studies among the top 100 most cited articles were highlighted, as they help guide clinical practice to better serve patients.ConclusionsThis bibliometric analysis of the top 100 most cited articles revealed important studies, popular topics, and trends in DKD research to assist researchers in further understanding the subject.