Morphometrical analysis of glomerular changes induced by cyclosporine in the rat

N. Perico, A. Remuzzi, O. Imberti, D. Cavallotti, T. Bertani, G. Remuzzi

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Functional and morphologic techniques were used to study the renal changes induced by a long-term exposure of normal rats to cyclosporine A (CsA), as well as their potential reversibility. CsA treatment for 3 months resulted in a significant (P <0.01) reduction of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) as compared with vehicle-treated animals. Histological examination of the kidneys showed mild glomerular damage characterized by ischemic lesions, increased mesangial matrix, and intracapillary hypercellularity in the CsA-treated group, but not in the vehicle-treated group. Proximal tubular abnormalities and limited areas of interstitial fibrosis were also present in the CsA group. A complete reconstruction of glomerular corpuscle was used to evaluate the consequence of CsA-induced renal ischemia on capillary tuft volume. The results showed that in rats administered CsA for 3 months glomerular volume distribution was shifted toward small glomeruli. Prolongation of CsA administration for 5 months did not result in a further decrease in GFR, and was associated with the appearance of a subset of glomeruli that became larger than normal. We have also investigated whether, once established, CsA-induced renal injury is reversible. In rats that were administered CsA for 3 months and then treatment discontinued for 2 more months, GFR returned to pretreatment values and partial reversibility of morphologic changes was observed. Morphometric analysis showed that 2 months after withdrawal of CsA, glomerular volume distribution was almost comparable to that observed in vehicle-treated animals. We conclude that CsA given to normal rats as a chronic administration induced a marked decline in GFR associated with change in glomerular tuft volume distribution, consisting in enlargement of a subset of glomeruli and shrinkage of others. These changes were partially reversible after withdrawal of the drug.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-543
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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