Glomerular capillary morphology in normal humans

E. N. Ellis, S. M. Mauer, D. E R Sutherland, M. W. Steffes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Knowledge of quantitative glomerular structure in normal man is limited. At the time of renal transplantation, 28 living-related normal kidney donors had renal biopsies performed. Tissue was processed for light and electron microscopy using standard techniques. Standard stereologic techniques were used to determine mean glomerular volume, capillary length density, fractional volumes of mesangium and capillary lumen, surface densities of the peripheral capillary, mesangial-epithelium interface, and the lumenal-mesangial interface. Volume of total mesangium/glomerulus, capillary lumenal volume/glomerulus, peripheral capillary filtration surface/glomerulus, capillary mesangial-epithelial surface/glomerulus, capillary lumenal-mesangial surface/glomerulus, capillary length/glomerulus, and average capillary diameter were calculated. There were no significant differences between males and females in any structural parameter. There were no significant correlations between age or body surface area and any structural parameter. In comparison with these normal values, previously reported diabetic patients with clinical nephropathy demonstrate markedly expanded mesangial volume/glomerulus and a diminished filtration surface/glomerulus. The availability of these normal values will allow comparison with functional data in normal humans and greater understanding of human glomerular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-236
Number of pages6
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1989


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