Functional abnormalities in renal cystic diseases.

R. A. Defronzo, S. O. Thier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The functions of a kidney, whether normal or cystic, can be conceptualized in terms of anatomy (glomerulus, proximal tubule, loop of Henle, distal convolution, and collecting duct), activity (volume regulation, dilution and concentration, acid-base regulation, potassium excretion, transport of organic molecules, and calcium and phosphate excretion), and the integration of anatomic organization to meet functional demand. Our discussion of renal cystic disorders follows this conceptual outline. For discussions of normal renal physiology, the reader is referred to any one of several recent, excellent reviews (1-3). Systematic evaluation of renal function in cystic diseases of the kidney (medullary sponge kidney, medullary cystic disease, and polycystic kidney disease) has only rarely been performed. The available information suggests that the earliest detectable lesions consist primarily of tubular dysfunction. With time, however, significant reduction of glomerular filtration occurs and the resultant accumulation of uremic toxins dominates the clinical picture in polycystic and medullary cystic disease. Significant changes in glomerular function are unusual in medullary sponge kidney. This review represents an attempt to summarize the large body of literature that has accumulated on functional abnormalities in these disorders, and to point out those areas where further investigations are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-81
Number of pages17
JournalPerspectives in nephrology and hypertension
StatePublished - 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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