Correlation of histopathological features and renal impairment in autosomal dominant Alport syndrome in Bull terrier

Jennifer C. Hood, John Dowling, John F. Bertram, Richard J. Young, Clive Huxtable, Wayne Robinson, Judy Savige

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Background. Bull terrier hereditary nephritis represents a model for autosomal dominant Alport syndrome, as affected dogs have the characteristically lamellated glomerular basement membrane and demonstrate vertical male-to-male disease transmission. Methods. This study compared the histopathological features in kidneys from affected Bull terrier neonates, puppies, and adult dogs with normal or impaired renal function, with the histopathological appearance of kidneys from age- and size-matched normal dogs. Results. There were fewer glomeruli per unit area of cortex in kidneys from affected neonatal kidneys (P<0.05), increased numbers of fetal glomeruli in affected puppy kidneys (P<0.05), and a separate population of glomeruli with larger renal corpuscles and glomerular tufts in kidneys from affected adult dogs with normal renal function (both P<0.0001) compared with normal dogs. Other histological features that are characteristic of human X-linked and autosomal recessive Alport syndrome and that were present included hypercellular glomeruli, occasional crescents, segmental and global glomerular sclerosis, periglomerular fibrosis, interstitial fibrosis without significant cellular infiltrates and cystic dilatation of Bowman's capsular space and tubules. In dogs with renal impairment, the tubular index was the best predictor of increased urinary protein: creatinine (r = 0.92) compared with glomerular, interstitial and vascular indices (r = 0.77, 0.88 and 0.81), and medullary fibrosis correlated best with serum creatinine (r = 0.72, P = 0.0002). Conclusions. The demonstration in Bull terrier kidneys of fewer nephrons in neonates increased fetal glomeruli, and a separate population of glomeruli with larger corpuscles and tufts reflects the effects of the underlying genetic mutation that are first manifest antenatally. The major determinant of renal impairment in adult affected Bull terriers is, however, progressive tubulointerstitial damage after birth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1897-1908
Number of pages12
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2002


  • Animal model
  • Autosomal dominant Alport syndrome
  • Glomerular basement membrane
  • Renal failure

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