Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Ageing

Nephron loss in the ageing kidney — it's more than you think

Subjects

Nephron number varies widely in healthy adults. The extent to which this variation is due to differences in nephron endowment at birth and/or nephron loss with ageing is unclear. A recent study used a novel approach to identify a previously unappreciated high loss of nephrons with ageing in healthy kidneys.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Glomerular number estimation.

References

  1. Hoy, W. E. et al. The early development of the kidney and implications for future health. J. Dev. Orig. Health Dis. 1, 216–233 (2010).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Puelles, V. G et al. Glomerular number and size variability and risk for kidney disease. Curr. Opin. Nephrol. Hypertens. 20, 7–15 (2011).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Bertram, J. F., Douglas-Denton, R. N., Diouf, B., Hughson, M. D. & Hoy, W. E. Human nephron number: implications for health and disease. Pediatr. Nephrol. 26, 1529–1533 (2011).

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Zhang, Z. et al. A common RET variant is associated with reduced newborn kidney size and function. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 19, 2027–2034 (2008).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Denic, A. et al. The substantial loss of nephrons in healthy human kidneys with aging. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2016020154 (2016).

  6. Weibel, E. R. and D. M. Gomez . A principle for counting tissue structures on random sections. J. Appl. Physiol. 17, 343–348 (1962).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Keller, G., Zimmer, G., Mall, G., Ritz, E. & Amann, K. Nephron number in patients with primary hypertension. N. Engl. J. Med. 348, 101–108 (2003).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Hayman, J. M., Martin, J. W. & Miller, M. Renal function and the number of glomeruli in the human kidney. Arch. Int. Med. 64, 69–83 (1939).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Hoy, W. E. et al. A stereological study of glomerular number and volume: preliminary studies in a multiracial study of kidneys at autopsy. Kidney Int. 63 (Suppl. 83), S31–S37 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Beeman, S. C. et al. MRI-based glomerular morphology and pathology in whole human kidneys. Am. J. Physiol. Renal. 306, F1381–F1390 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge valuable discussions with Dr. Michael Hughson (Department of Pathology, University of Mississippi Medical Centre) during the preparation of this article.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to John F. Bertram.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

PowerPoint slides

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Bertram, J., Hoy, W. Nephron loss in the ageing kidney — it's more than you think. Nat Rev Nephrol 12, 585–586 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrneph.2016.130

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nrneph.2016.130

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing