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Am J Pathol. 1999 Mar;154(3):891-7.

Nature and severity of the glomerular response to nephron reduction is strain-dependent in mice.

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Division of Nephrology, IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.


Nephron reduction is an important factor in the development of glomerulosclerosis. In a study of the oligosyndactyly (Os) mutation that causes a congenital 50% reduction in nephron number, we previously found that ROP Os/+ mice developed glomerulosclerosis whereas C57B1/6J Os/+ mice did not. We concluded that the predisposition to glomerulosclerosis depended largely on the genetic background, the ROP being sclerosis-prone whereas the C57 strain was sclerosis-resistant. In the current experiments we asked whether the intensity of the sclerotic response to nephron reduction in the ROP strain was related to the time at which it occurred, ie, a pre- or post-natal event. We also determined whether the absence of lesions in C57 Os/+ mice was caused by a higher threshold for the induction of a sclerotic response in C57 mice. We further examined the relationship between glomerular hypertrophy and sclerosis. C57 +/+, C57 Os/+, ROP +/+, and ROP Os/+ mice were uninephrectomized (NX) at age 10 weeks and followed for 8 weeks. We found no sclerotic changes in NX C57 +/+ and C57 Os/+ mice, despite a 75% reduction in nephron number in the latter. In contrast, both NX ROP +/+ and NX ROP Os/+ mice had glomerulosclerosis, which was more severe in the NX ROP Os/+ mice. Examination of extracellular matrix synthesis and degradation at the mRNA level revealed that synthesis exceeded degradation in ROP Os/+ mice. The lesions in NX ROP +/+ were less severe than in sham-operated ROP/Os mice, suggesting that the timing of nephron reduction affected the amplitude of the sclerotic response in this strain. Following NX, an increase in glomerular volume was found in C57 +/+, ROP +/+, and ROP Os/+ mice. However, NX did not lead to a further increase in glomerular volume in C57 Os/+ mice. We make three conclusions: 1) sclerosis was more severe in the ROP strain when nephron reduction occurred in utero; 2) the absence of glomerulosclerosis in C57 mice was not related to a higher threshold for a sclerosis response in this strain; and 3) whereas glomerular size continued to increase as nephron number decreased in ROP mice, it reached a plateau in C57 mice.

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