The distal nephron is preferentially infiltrated by inflammatory cells in acute interstitial nephritis

B. Iványi, N. Marcussen, E. Kemp, T. S. Olsen

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15 Citations (Scopus)


In acute interstitial nephritis (AIN), mononuclear cells invade the tubules (tubulitis). The segmental localization of tubulitis is not precisely known. To clarify this question, formalin-fixed kidney biopsy specimens from 13 patients with AIN were studied stereologically by identifying cortical tubules with segment-specific markers. The periodic acid-Schiff reaction, peanut lectin, and antibodies against Tamm-Horsfall protein and epidermal cytokeratins all applied to the same section were used to identify the proximal tubules (PTs), distal convoluted tubules, distal straight tubules, and the cortical collecting system (connecting tubules and cortical collecting ducts), respectively. Morphometrically, an estimate of the relative volume of the inflammatory cell infiltrates within each category of tubular segments was obtained. Inflammatory cells were infrequently found in PTs (1.2%) but were frequently localized in distal tubules and the cortical collecting system (7.6%). There was no difference in the amount of the inflammatory cell infiltrate within these segments. Re-examination of an electron microscopic study of AIN carried out in this laboratory revealed that mononuclear cells were rarely seen in convoluted PTs but were frequently observed in straight PTs and all segments distal to them. The observations indicate that it is the distal nephron which is primarily affected by inflammatory cell infiltration in AIN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-42
Number of pages6
JournalVirchows Archiv A Pathological Anatomy and Histopathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1992


  • Acute interstitial nephritis
  • Distal nephron
  • Proximal tubules
  • Tubular markers
  • Tubulitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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