Studies on the pathophysiology of acute renal failure - I. Correlation of ultrastructure and function in the proximal tubule of the rat following administration of mercuric chloride

E. M. McDowell, R. B. Nagle, R. C. Zalme, J. S. McNeil, W. Flamenbaum, B. F. Trump

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations

Abstract

Acute renal failure was induced in male rats by the subcutaneous injection of 4 mg HgCl2 per kg body weight. Changes in the proximal tubule were studied by light and electron microscopy at six time intervals from 15 min to 24 h. Renal function was monitored at 6 and 24 h. Between 15 min and 3 h changes were similar in all regions of the proximal tubule (pars convoluta and pars recta). Dispersion of cytoplasmic polysome groups was widespread and mitochondrial matrices were condensed in some cells. No changes were noted in the brush border but increased endocytotic activity occurred in some convoluted tubules at 1 and 3 h. At 6 h severe changes had occurred in the pars recta in the medullary rays. Microvilli of the brush border were focally absent, the mitochondria were swollen and the endoplasmic reticulum was dilated. At this time only subtle changes occurred in the pars recta in the outer stripe of the outer medulla. However by 24 h necrosis was widespread throughout the pars recta, yet changes in the proximal convoluted portion were minimal. A significant azotemia, decreased GFR and increased FENa+ and FEK+ occurred at 6 and 24 h after HgCl2 injection. Thus HgCl2 at 4 mg per kg body weight produced reproducible renal failure and necrosis involving the pars recta of every nephron but necrosis did not begin in the pars recta until after 6 h while acute renal failure was probably initiated much earlier. The following hypothesis is presented. HgCl2 initially interacts with the entire proximal tubule. Although injury is sublethal in the pars convoluta it is responsible for greatly diminished sodium reabsorption and is related to the pathogenesis of the renal failure through feedback mechanisms involving the macula densa and release of renin. This results in renal hemodynamic alterations, decreased GFR and other functional disturbances associated with renal failure. The development of necrosis in the pars recta appears to be a relatively late event, possibly due to further accumulation of Hg++ in this region. In any case, the necrosis appears pathogenetically dissociable from the mechanism of acute renal failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-196
Number of pages24
JournalVirchows Archiv B Cell Pathology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1976

Keywords

  • Acute renal failure
  • Mercuric chloride
  • Necrosis
  • Proximal tubule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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