Scanning Electron Microscopy


The present paper describes the use of a quantitative renal vascular casting method to study the changes associated with kidney disease. Several animal models of hypertension (spontaneously hypertensive rat, SHR, with its normotensive rat the Wistar Kyoto, WKY; Dahl salt sensitive DS - hypertensive, and salt resistant DR -normotensive) were examined at time points when the systemic blood pressure was rising (6 and 12 weeks of age) and following renal denervation (in SHR-WKY rats). The SHR appears to have a smaller caliber afferent arteriole at both 6 and 12 weeks of age. This difference is probably not entirely due to sympathetic vasoconstriction since the strain related afferent arteriolar diameter difference was still present after renal denervation. In the Dahl rats, there is not much of an intrarenal vascular difference between the DS and DR rats with the only real finding of a smaller distal afferent arteriolar diameter found in outer cortical nephrons of the DR. The two models of acute renal failure (ARF) that were studied include, a) the glycerol model (known to initially cause an intense vasoconstriction) and b) gentamicin, a nephrotoxic antibiotic. Two time points were examined for each of these models. As expected in the glycerol model there was an intense vasoconstriction at three hours which essentially was gone at 3 days-a time when the renal failure was fulminant. The glomerulus appeared to be contracted at three hours as well. In the gentamicin model no renal vascular alteration was seen at 6 days, when renal failure was mild while at 10 days, when renal failure was pronounced, outer cortical afferent arterioles appeared to be moderately constricted. In the 5/6 nephrectomy model of chronic renal failure, the glomeruli were smaller in rats in renal failure than in the controls.

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