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Lab Invest. 1977 Feb;36(2):183-97.

A scanning and transmission electron microscopic comparison of puromycin aminonucleoside-induced nephrosis to hyperalbuminemia-induced proteinuria with emphasis on kidney podocyte pedicel loss.


Ultrastructural changes in the visceral epithelium and proximal tubules of rats were studied by scanning and transmission electron microscopy during the onset and progression of puromycin aminonucleoside nephrosis (PAN)-induced proteinuria. These changes were compared with those that occur during a similar degree of proteinuria induced by intraperitoneal injections of albumin. With the onset of proteinuria and oliguria, PAN rats exhibit loss of podocyte pedicels and podocyte major processes, an increase in pinocytotic activity, and an accumulation of cytoplasmic vacuoles and granules of variable size, shape, and electron density. Loss of podocyte pedicels involves a gradual decrease in pedicel height beginning at the pedicel tip and progressing down the pedicel arm, formation of nublike protrusions and interpedicel microbridges (35 to 45 nm. in width and 40 to 60 nm. in length) along the pedicel's base, the merging of microbridges to form more extensive regions of interpedicel contact, and a gradual broadening and retraction of pedicels. In response to hyperalbuminemia-induced proteinuria, kidney podocytes exhibit reactions during PAN, however, the podocyte pedicels, slit pores, and major processes of rats with hyperalbuminemia-induced proteinuria remain discrete. The loss of pedicels and major processes during PAN, therefore, apparently results from the effects of puromycin aminonucleoside per se rather than from the proteinuria associated with this disease. The proximal tubules of rats with hyperalbuminemia-induced proteinurea exhibit the same characteristic changes as PAN rat proximal tubules (i.e., loss of brush border, dilated lumina, abnormally thin walls, and accumulation of periodic acid-Schiff positive electron-dense luminal casts and cytoplasmic protein absorption droplets). The significance of these ultrastructural findings during PAN and hyperalbuminemia-induced proteinurea are discussed in terms of the etiology of PAN.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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