Glomerular hypertrophy in offspring of subtotally nephrectomized ewes.
ABSTRACT We have shown that fetuses whose mothers underwent subtotal nephrectomy (STNx) before pregnancy had high urine flow rates and sodium excretions, but lower hematocrits, plasma chloride, and plasma renin levels compared with controls. To see if these functional differences in utero persist after birth and are the result of altered renal development, we studied 8 lambs born to STNx mothers (STNxL) and 10 controls (ConL) in the second week of life. These lambs were of similar body weights, nose-rump lengths and abdominal girths. Their kidney weights were not different (ConL 36.1 +/- 1.9 vs. STNxL 39.8 +/- 3.3 g), nor were kidney dimensions or glomerular number (ConL 423,520 +/- 22,194 vs. STNxL 429,530 +/- 27,471 glomeruli). However, STNxL had 30% larger glomerular volumes (both mean and total, P < 0.01) and there was a positive relationship between total glomerular volume and urinary protein excretion (P < 0.05) in STNxL. Despite this change in glomerular morphology, glomerular filtration rate, tubular function, urine flow, and sodium excretion rates were not different between STNxL and ConL, nor were plasma electrolytes, osmolality, and plasma renin levels. Thus while many of the functional differences seen in late gestation were not present at 1-2 weeks after birth, the alteration in glomerular size and its relationship to protein excretion suggests that exposure to this altered intrauterine environment may predispose offspring of mothers with renal dysfunction to renal disease in adult life.