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Mod Pathol. 1992 Mar;5(2):125-30.

Intertubular capillary changes in kidney allografts: a morphologic investigation on 61 renal specimens.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Oncologia Umana Sezione di Anatomia Patologica, Università di Torino, Italy.


A total of 61 kidney allograft specimens (51 biopsies and 10 nephrectomies) from 44 patients were investigated. Transplant glomerulopathy (TGP) was found in 38 specimens. Electron microscopy disclosed peculiar intertubular capillary changes (ITCC) in 47 specimens (all those showing TGP and nine without TGP). They were characterized by splitting and multilayering of the basement membranes. TGP and ITCC were graded and found mild (in 23 and 22 specimens), moderate (in 11 and 16 specimens), and severe (in four and nine specimens). Both worsened with time lapse from transplantation. When both were compared in single specimens, their grading was similar or, with a few exceptions, more severe for ITCC. TGP and ITCC were more frequent in biopsies with morphologic evidence of rejection and less frequent in patients treated with Cyclosporine A. Repeated biopsies and nephrectomies were studied in 10 patients and a somewhat more precocious appearance of ITCC than of TGP was found. Earlier and more severe ITCC were found in two patients who had had two transplants as compared to those with one. Morphologic similarities between TGP and ITCC suggest a common pathogenetic mechanism related to endothelial damage. The association to the histological evidence of rejection as well as the apparently protective activity of Cyclosporine A could support the involvement of an immune-mediated mechanism in agreement with what is reported in literature. The constant association of ITCC and TGP and its possible more precocious appearance enforce the diagnostic value of the former, which allows to infer the presence or the subsequent development of TGP even in biopsies where glomeruli are lacking.

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