These studies were undertaken to ascertain if there is any association between low birth weight, and low kidney weight, few and/or small glomeruli, in kidneys from a control group and a group of non-insulin-dependent diabetic (NIDDM) patients. The background for this study comes from findings suggesting a correlation between low birth weight and the development of NIDDM and high blood pressure. Furthermore, Brenner has postulated that humans born with a low number of glomeruli, thereby having a low glomerular filtration surface area, have a greater tendency to develop high blood pressure. We examined 79 autopsy kidneys, with known weight from normal and NIDDM patients, which had previously been used for studies of glomerular number and volume. In the archives of the Danish midwives we were able to find birth weight for 26 NIDDM patients and an age- and sex-matched sample of 19 control persons. The kidney weight (g) (
Control: 137 +/- 36; NIDDM: 150 +/- 38; 2p = 0.26), glomerular number (10(3)) (CONTROL: 670 +/- 176; NIDDM: 673 +/- 200; 2p = 0.95), glomerular volume (10(6) micron3) (CONTROL: 6.25 +/- 1.48; NIDDM: 5.71 +/- 1.74; 2p = 0.28) or birth weight (g) (
Control: 3577 +/- 400; NIDDM: 3489 +/- 429; 2p = 0.49) were not different between the groups. There was no significant correlation between birth weight and glomerular number (
Control: 2p = 0.80; r = 0.06 and NIDDM: 2p = 0.10; r = -0.33), glomerular volume (
Control: 2p = 0.43; r = 0.19 and NIDDM: 2p = 0.78; r = 0.06) or kidney weight (
Control: 2p = 0.56; r = 0.14 and NIDDM: 2p = 0.81; r = 0.05). Our results on a limited number of subjects in Denmark do not support the hypothesis that there is any association between low birth weight and low kidney weight or low birth weight and few and/or small glomeruli in NIDDM patients.