Comparison of human polycystic and medullary cystic kidney disease with diphenylamine induced cystic disease

A. P. Evan, K. D. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Because of difficulty in obtaining cystic human kidneys for functional and morphologic study, animal models are receiving increasing attention. Most prominent among them is the renal cystic disease that is induced in rats through feeding of the antioxidant, diphenylamine. The present study examined the morphology of adult polycystic and medullary cystic kidney disease in man using scanning electron microscopy and compared them with diphenylamine induced cystic kidney disease in rats. Diphenylamine nephropathy was induced by feeding rats 1% diphenylamine for 12 to 18 months. All types of cystic disease showed changes in the renal corpuscles, including dilation of Bowman's space, podocyte fusion and degeneration, and basement membrane thickening. Cysts were noted along the entire nephron in polycystic and diphenylamine induced cystic disease but only along the collecting ducts in medullary cystic disease. Cysts in polycystic disease were large and lined by flattened epithelium. Collecting duct cysts in diphenylamine cystic disease were lined by cells of irregular size and shape suggestive of cell hypertrophy and/or hyperplasia, whereas cysts of medullary cystic disease were lined by flattened epithelium except where the nephron entered or left the cyst. Cast material was generally found in the cysts of diphenylamine induced and polycystic kidney disease but not medullary cystic disease. Atrophic glomeruli and tubules were found in all three diseases. Complete tubular obstruction was found in none; however, larger cysts frequently impinged on adjacent tubules and narrowed their lumina. The results of this study show that, in the terminal stages, cellular as well as gross morphologic differences exist between polycystic and medullary cystic kidney disease and that diphenylamine induced cystic disease more closely resembles human polycystic than medullary cystic kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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