Human nephron number: Implications for health and disease

Bertram, John F., Douglas-Denton, Rebecca N., Diouf, Boucar, Hughson, Michael D. and Hoy, Wendy E. (2011) Human nephron number: Implications for health and disease. Pediatric Nephrology, 26 9: 1529-1533. doi:10.1007/s00467-011-1843-8

Author Bertram, John F.
Douglas-Denton, Rebecca N.
Diouf, Boucar
Hughson, Michael D.
Hoy, Wendy E.
Title Human nephron number: Implications for health and disease
Journal name Pediatric Nephrology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0931-041X
Publication date 2011-09-01
Year available 2011
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1007/s00467-011-1843-8
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 26
Issue 9
Start page 1529
End page 1533
Total pages 5
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Several studies have shown that total nephron (glomerular) number varies widely in normal human kidneys. Whereas the studies agree that average nephron number is approximately 900,000 to 1 million per kidney, numbers for individual kidneys range from approximately 200,000 to >2.5 million. Several studies have shown loss of glomeruli due to age-related glomerulosclerosis. The rates of loss vary among individuals depending upon blood pressure, diseases affecting the kidney, and other attributes of health, but most of the variation in nephron number is present at birth and is therefore developmentally determined. For example, in a relatively small study of nephron number in 15 children <3 months of age, we found that nephron number ranged from approximately 250,000 to 1.1 million. Given that no new nephrons are formed in human kidneys after approximately 36 weeks’ gestation, much interest has focused on renal function and health in individuals born with relatively low nephron endowment. Several studies have reported a direct correlation between birth weight and nephron number and an indirect association between nephron number and blood pressure. Associations between low birth weight and cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, have also been widely reported. This report provides an update on our current knowledge of human nephron number and the associations with adult health and disease.
Keyword Nephron number
Glomerular number
Chronic kidney disease
Individual glomerular volumes
Southeastern United-States
Young-adult age
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID NIH 1 R01 DK065970-01
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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