Extent of glomerular injury in active and resolving lupus nephritis: A theoretical analysis

B. D. Myers*, A. Chagnac, H. Golbetz, L. Newton, S. Strober, R. K. Sibley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with diffuse, proliferative lupus nephritis (DPLN) were subjected to differential solute clearances (n = 22) and serial renal biopsy (n = 11) before and again after 6-12 mo of immunosuppressive therapy. Glomerular sieving of dextrans of graded size was analyzed with a heteroporous membrane model. This revealed active DPLN to be associated with 1) a reduction of overall pore density accompanied by a 53% depression of glomerular filtration rate (GFR), and 2) appearance of a subset of large, nondiscriminatory pores, which accounted for the observed nephrotic level of proteinuria. Morphometric analysis of biopsy tissue provided evidence of reduced filtration surface area due to global or segmental occlusion of capillary loops in glomerular tufts. Activity of DPLN resolved posttreatment. A computed increase in pore density was associated with a 24% increment in GFR; a marked reduction in the fraction of shuntlike pores was accompanied by a parallel reduction of proteinuria into a subnephrotic range. Repeat biopsy revealed diminished glomerular cellularity, fewer immune deposits, and an ensuing increase in the fraction of tuft area occupied by patent loops. Epithelial filtration slit frequency also increased. Neither functional nor structural recovery was complete, however. Residual pore density approximated only 23-35% of that in healthy controls, and corresponding shuntlike pores were threefold more prominent. We conclude that severe DPLN is only partially reversible by current modalities of treatment and that the ensuing residual injury is far more severe than suggested by conventional tests of renal function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F717-F727
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number5 29-5
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Dextran sieving
  • Heteroporous membrane model
  • Morphometry
  • Pore theory


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