Consensus definitions for glomerular lesions by light and electron microscopy: recommendations from a working group of the Renal Pathology Society

Kidney Int. 2020 Nov;98(5):1120-1134. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2020.08.006. Epub 2020 Aug 29.


Over the past 2 decades, scoring systems for multiple glomerular diseases have emerged, as have consortia of pathologists and nephrologists for the study of glomerular diseases, including correlation of pathologic findings with clinical features and outcomes. However, one important limitation faced by members of these consortia and other renal pathologists and nephrologists in both investigative work and routine practice remains a lack of uniformity and precision in clearly defining the morphologic lesions on which the scoring systems are based. In response to this issue, the Renal Pathology Society organized a working group to identify the most frequently identified glomerular lesions observed by light microscopy and electron microscopy, review the literature to capture the published definitions most often used for each, and determine consensus terms and definitions for each lesion in a series of online and in-person meetings. The defined lesions or abnormal findings are not specific for any individual disease or subset of diseases, but rather can be applied across the full spectrum of glomerular diseases and within the context of the different scoring systems used for evaluating and reporting these diseases. In addition to facilitating glomerular disease research, standardized terms and definitions should help harmonize reporting of medical kidney diseases worldwide and lead to more-precise diagnoses and improved patient care.

Keywords: electron microscopy; glomerulonephritis; glomerulus; kidney biopsy; renal pathology.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Consensus
  • Glomerulonephritis*
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Kidney Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Kidney Glomerulus
  • Microscopy, Electron