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Am J Kidney Dis. 2002 Apr;39(4):679-88.

Glomerular size and glomerulosclerosis: relationships to disease categories, glomerular solidification, and ischemic obsolescence.

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Department of Pathology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216-4505, USA.


In focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a biphasic change in glomerular size is described in which glomeruli are enlarged with early glomerulosclerosis. Hyperperfusion of larger glomeruli is believed to contribute to progressive glomerular injury. This study was undertaken to investigate whether similar alterations in glomerular size can be found in other renal diseases. Volumes of sclerotic and nonsclerotic glomeruli were estimated in renal biopsy specimens using the Weibel and Gomez method (1962). Glomerulosclerosis was graded on individual glomeruli from 0 to 4, with 0 as no sclerosis and 4 as 76% to 100% sclerosis. Primary and secondary FSGS showed a biphasic change in which grade 2 glomeruli were 50% larger than grade 0 glomeruli and grades 3 and 4 glomeruli were solidified and smaller than grade 0 glomeruli. In essential hypertension, no increase in glomerular size was seen with early glomerulosclerosis, and the latter stages consisted of ischemic obsolescence in which collapsed tufts were 50% smaller than solidified glomeruli of FSGS. Grade 0 glomeruli of membranous glomerulonephritis (MGN) were significantly larger than grade 0 glomeruli of FSGS, and no significant difference in size was seen between grades 0 and 2 glomerulosclerosis. Solidified diabetic glomeruli maintained a large size with grades 3 and 4 sclerosis. Glomeruloscleroses of FSGS, hypertension, MGN, and diabetes have stereologically distinct features. A biphasic change in glomerular size is characteristic of primary and secondary FSGS, but not hypertension, in which tuft collapse supports reduced rather than increased perfusion in the pathogenesis of its glomerular obsolescence.

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