Quantitative glomerular morphology of the normal human kidney

Lab Invest. 1983 Jul;49(1):82-6.


We determined glomerular basement membrane (GBM) width (as the harmonic mean) and relative volumes of the glomerular mesangium and of its cellular and matrix components in 59 male (73% living-related) and 59 female (93% living-related) donors of kidneys for transplantation. The GBM, consistently wider in male (mean, 373 nm.) versus female (mean, 326 nm.) donors, increased in width in all donors until the fourth decade of life when it appeared to decrease in width. The relative volume of the mesangium did not differ as to sex or age (mean, 14.2% of the glomerular volume), nor did either of its components (mean cellular mesangium, 7.1%; mean matrix mesangium, 7.1%). We found no correlations among renal index, GBM width, or the mesangium. No parameter differed in diabetic-related compared with nondiabetic-related donors. Results in cadavers for GBM width and the mesangium were no different from those of living-related donors. These observations yield insights into the development of the human kidney and its glomerular components, and in addition the GBM and mesangial measures will serve as normative values to which surgical or biopsy specimens can be related.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Basement Membrane / anatomy & histology
  • Biopsy
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Glomerulus / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors