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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The mechanism of acute renal failure after uranyl nitrate.

Administration of 25 mg/kg uranyl nitrate (UN) to rats leads to a brief period of polyuria followed by progressive oliguria with death at 5 days. Factors that determine glomerular filtration rate (GFR) were examined in control Munich-Wistar rats (n equals 16) and 2 h after either 15 mg/kg (n equals 8) or 25 mg/kg (n equals 7) of UN (i.v.) utilizing direct measurements of hydrostatic and oncotic pressures and plasma flow. Total kidney GFR was reduced to 47% of control in the low dose group and to 21% in the high dose group. The simultaneous nephron filtration rate (sngfr) was 28.6 plus or minus 0.8 nl/min/g kidney wt in control, 29.1 plus or minus 1.0 in the low dose group, and 18.1 plus or minus 1.2 (P less than 0.001) in the higher dose group. This disparity in UN effect upon GFR and sngfr was due to tubular back-diffusion of solute through damaged epithelia beyond the early proximal tubule as demonstrated by microinjection of inulin and mannitol in the proximal tubule. Inulin "leak" persisted at 6 h after UN when tubular pressure had returned to normal. Comparison of sngfr measured in early vs. late proximal tubule revealed no difference after high dose UN, suggesting no significant leak of inulin from the early proximal tubule, and that the decreased sngfr was due to primary reductions in ultrafiltration. Nephron plasma flow was equal to control at both doses of UN. Also directly measured hydrostatic pressure gradient across the glomerular capillary was not changed. The effective filtration pressure achieved equilibrium in control of animals but became significantly positive at the efferent end of the capillary at both doses of UN and increased. Total glomerular permeability (LpA) was progressively reduced from control (0.089 plus or minus 0.005 nl/s/g kidney wt/mm Hg) at low dose UN (0.047 plus or minus 0.013) and high dose 0.024 plus or minus 0.003 nl/s/g kidney wt/mm Hg). Therefore UN decreases GFR by two mechanisms: (1) tubular damage leading to back-diffusion of solutes and (b) a primary reduction in sngfr due to reduced LpA.[1]


  1. The mechanism of acute renal failure after uranyl nitrate. Blantz, R.C. J. Clin. Invest. (1975) [Pubmed]
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