Acute human pyelonephritis: Leukocytic infiltration of tubules and localization of bacteria

B. Iványi, H. J. Rumpelt, W. Thoenes

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The fine structural details of how leukocytes appear in the lumen of tubules and the localization of bacteria in the tubulo-interstitial space were studied by light and electronmicroscopy in renal cortical biopsy specimens from three patients with acute pyelonephritis. The cells of interstitial infiltrates infiltrated and sometimes disrupted the cortical collecting tubules preferentially, while inflammatory infiltration of the proximal and distal convoluted tubules occurred more rarely. Since the emigration of tubular wall-localized individual leukocytes into the lumen was not observed even in long series of thin sections, focal inflammatory disruption of the uriniferous ducts was considered to be the morphological basis of the intratubular accumulation of leukocytes. The structural simplicity of the collecting tubular cells is suggested to be the reason for their preferential involvement in the drainage of the interstitial suppuration, although a role for specific carbohydrate receptors cannot be excluded. The bacteria were usually found within the neutrophilic granulocytes and macrophages of the interstitial infiltrates, and within and among the cells of leukocyte casts. Additionally, pure bacterial colonies were noticed in the lumen of a few collecting tubules. The problem of the adherence of the bacteria to the surface of the tubular cells is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalVirchows Archiv A Pathological Anatomy and Histopathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1988



  • Acute pyelonephritis
  • Bacterial localization
  • Cortical collecting duct rupture
  • Tubule infiltration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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