Multicystic Transformation of Kidneys in Chronic Renal FailureMickisch O. · Bommer J. · Bachmann S. · Waldherr R. · Mann J.F.E. · Ritz E.
Departments of Internal Medicine, Anatomy and Pathology, University of Heidelberg, FRG
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With real-time sonography, 120 nondialyzed uremic patients prior to hemodialysis, 108 patients on maintenance hemodialysis and 9 patients postdialysis after successful homotransplantation were examined for the presence of renal cysts. Even in incipient renal failure, multiple cysts were demonstrable in some patients (at a serum creatinine of 3 mg/dl in 22% of patients), particularly in patients with analgesic nephropathy. When hemodialysis was started (serum creatinine approximately 10 mg/dl), 35% of the patients had multiple cysts. On hemodialysis, the prevalence, number and size of cysts rose progressively with time. After 8 years of hemodialysis, 92% of the patients had multiple cysts. However, enlargement of the kidneys was observed in only 2/108 patients. No major clinical complications were noted with the possible exception of 1 case of renal cell carcinoma. No correlation was noted between hematocrit and presence or extent of cystic transformation, but the 2 patients with cystic enlargement of the kidneys were polyglobulic. In 8/9 patients after transplantation, cysts were demonstrable in the patient’s own kidneys after a median follow-up of 16 months. On light microscopy, cysts were lined by cuboidal or columnar epithelial cells with frequent papillary or adenomatous proliferations. The cyst lumen was filled with amorphous or lamellated organic material, which exhibited microfibrillar structure on electron microscopy. One kidney examined after ex vivo perfusion fixation showed multiple interconnected cavities on scanning electron microscopy. Ultrastructural studies showed epithelia with either the characteristics of proximal tubular cells (i.e. numerous microvilli, interdigitations and abundant lysosomes or mitochondria) or distal tubular cells (i.e. highly interdigitating processes) or finally collecting duct cells (i.e. no interdigitations and few microvilli).
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