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Hyperfiltration: Adaptive or Maladaptive

Hyperfiltration is the term used to describe the changes in the remaining kidney after a nephrectomy (kidney removal).

As detailed here, it means that the vessels in the kidney widen under the increased pressure of filtering all the body’s blood, as well as a growth* in the actual cells that make up the glomeruli (small filter parts of the nephron). This increase’s the kidney’s re-absorption of sodium (salt) as well.

This process, or these changes, can be symptoms of diabetes or hypertension, or glomeruli damage. When it occurs in other parts of the body (eg. heart), it is seen as a significant health risk.

Yet the transplant industry has heralded the kidney’s adaptive capacity as more proof that living kidney donation is ‘safe’ for the donor, and does not leave him/her with any long-term ill renal effects.

The authors of this recently published study are not so sure. They conclude that “…alterations/adaptations in tubules and glomeruli in response to nephron deficiency may increase the risk of hypertension and renal disease in the long-term”.

Pass it on.

*Don’t confuse this with cell replication, which is how organisms normally grow. This is hypertrophy, an increase in cell size, not number.

For full abstract:

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