Validity of surrogate measures for functional nephron mass

Transplantation. 2011 Dec 27;92(12):1335-41. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e31823705ef.


Background: Transplanted nephron mass is an important determinant of long-term allograft survival, but accurate assessment before organ retrieval is challenging. Newer radiologic imaging techniques allow for better determination of total kidney and cortical volumes.

Methods: Using volume measurements reconstructed from magnetic resonance or computed tomography imaging from living donor candidates, we characterized total kidney (n=312) and cortical volumes (n=236) according to sex, age, weight, height, body mass index (BMI), and body surface area (BSA).

Results: The mean cortical volume was 204 mL (range 105-355 mL) with no significant differences between left and right cortical volumes. The degree to which existing anthropomorphic surrogates predict nephron mass was quantified, and a diligent attempt was made to derive a better surrogate model for nephron mass. Cortical volumes were strongly associated with sex and BSA, but not with weight, height, or BMI. Four prediction models for cortical volume constructed using combinations of age, sex, race, weight, and height were compared with models including either BSA or BMI.

Conclusions: Among existing surrogate measures, BSA was superior to BMI in predicting renal cortical volume. We were able to construct a statistically superior proxy for cortical volume, but whether relevant improvements in predictive accuracy could be gained needs further evaluation in a larger population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Surface Area
  • Body Weight
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Kidney* / anatomy & histology
  • Kidney* / diagnostic imaging
  • Living Donors*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrons* / anatomy & histology
  • Nephrons* / diagnostic imaging
  • Nephrons* / transplantation
  • Organ Size
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / standards
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Transplants* / standards