Glomerulonephritis: Keeping it simple

When the glomerulus gets swollen it’s not good at filtration anymore. Sometimes it shuts down and water and salt is withhold. Sometimes it just lets everything go through. This is specially true when you take a look at the urine and find all kinds of stuff in there: Blood, lipids albumin and huge proteins like coagulation factors and globulins.

As blood goes through the glomerular tuft capillaries they lose their shape and become dysmorphic. Also, as red and white cells get “clogged” within the tubules as the urine moves forward, they pile up in the form of “casts” or “cylinders”. If you see these casts it may mean there is direct damage to tubules (acute tubular necrosis) by toxins or hypo-perfusion, for example.

Finally lets remember the magic number: 3.5g/d the amount of proteins you lose in the urine when there is whats known as a nephrotic range and syndrome. You lose everything, even fat proteins. Nephritic syndrome, on the contraire, will consist of hematuria and  fluid retention with edema and hypertension.

Now this is of course an oversimplification but at least it may have made your life easier when you study the causes of each of the glomerulonephritis. Have fun!

Glomerulonephritis and tubular damage – Click to enlarge and download!

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