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Kidney Int. 1979 Sep;16(3):279-89.

Pathophysiology of Tamm-Horsfall protein.


Tamm-Horsfall protein, a renal glycoprotein present in normal urine, is the primary constituent of urinary casts. Immunoelectron microscopy has shown that this protein is localized selectively along surface membranes of the thick ascending loop of Henle. In this surface membrane site, the unique aggregation and gel formation of Tamm-Horsfall protein in response to increasing concentrations of electrolytes within physiologic ranges may influence the permeability characteristics of this nephron segment. These aggregation characteristics also play a role in pathologic conditions and lead to the prolonged persistence of interstitial Tamm-Horsfall protein deposits in several tubulointerstitial diseases. Recent studies have demonstrated immunologic responses to this protein, including an immune complex tubulointerstitial nephritis in rats mediated by autoantibodies to Tamm-Horsfall protein.

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