Can postpyelonephritic renal scarring be prevented?

Pediatr Nephrol. 2013 Feb;28(2):187-90. doi: 10.1007/s00467-012-2334-2. Epub 2012 Oct 20.


Pyelonephritis in childhood may, in the worst cases, lead to long-term cardiovascular morbidity due to tubulointerstitial renal scarring. Renal damage is the end result of an interplay between (1) urinary tract anatomy and function, (2) bacterial virulence factors, and (3) the host innate immune system, which on the one hand manages bacterial clearance, but on the other causes tubulointerstitial inflammation, which underlies the renal scarring. It is unclear how common postpyelonephritic scarring is, and how many of the "scars" in fact represent congenital renal hypoplasia. We do, however, know that some situations have an increased risk for scars, i.e., large renal-uptake defects on initial renal scintigraphy or pyelonephritis in young girls with dilating vesicoureteral reflux. It seems logical that antiinflammatory or antioxidant therapy given concomitantly with antibiotics should lower the risk of postpyelonephritic scarring. Animal studies give some support to this idea, but research on humans has been surprisingly scant. In this issue of Pediatric Nephrology, we publish a study that indicates that antioxidant therapy with vitamin A or E given to children with pyelonephritis may indeed lower the risk for renal scarring. This is a track that needs to be pursued further.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / microbiology
  • Cicatrix / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Pyelonephritis / complications
  • Pyelonephritis / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants