Three-dimensional analysis of glomerular morphology in patients with subtotal nephrectomy

A. Remuzzi, M. Mazerska, G. N. Gephardt, A. C. Novick, B. M. Brenner, G. Remuzzi

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Previous studies documented that single section examination of kidney tissue underestimates glomerulosclerosis and that three-dimensional examination of glomerular morphology improves recognition of the incidence and distribution of sclerotic changes within the glomerular capillary tuft. We have adopted this technique to evaluate the true frequency and the spatial extent of glomerulosclerosis in patients who were subjected to extensive renal mass reduction. We re-evaluated four kidney biopsies of patients with a solitary kidney who had undergone partial nephrectomy for renal-cell carcinoma. Histopathological examination aimed at detection of glomerular sclerotic lesions was performed on serial sections (from 75 to 93 serial sections for each biopsy, 3 μm thick) together with three-dimensional morphometric analysis of glomerular tuft and sclerotic areas using a computer-based image processing system. Results were compared with observations based on more conventional single section evaluation of the same biopsies. Among 65 glomeruli examined by three-dimensional morphometric analysis, only 8% were normal, 42% revealed segmental sclerosis and 51% global sclerosis. These results confirmed that single section evaluation grossly overestimates the number of normal glomerular (37% vs. 8%, respectively), since the majority of glomeruli classified as normal are indeed affected by sclerotic changes in areas typically out of the section plane. The three-dimensional distribution of sclerosis is characterized by the appearances of multi-focal areas affecting a small capillary tuft volume (

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalKidney International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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