Electron microscopic findings can support multiple etiologies of nephrotoxicity in renal tubules

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Ultrastructural Pathology


© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Electron microscopy (EM) has been mainly used for identifying ultrastructural abnormalities such as fusion of foot processes and immune complex deposits in glomeruli. However, electron microscopic findings in renal tubules can provide either diagnostic evidence (unique finding) or supportive evidence (additional finding) for final diagnosis. Here we present multiple situations that EM can be used for drawing conclusions of various drug-associated nephrotoxicity. Multiple cases with drug-induced nephrotoxicity are reviewed, including clinical history, EM findings, and serum creatinine (sCr) levels, prior to renal biopsy and during follow-up. Two cases with nephrotoxicity by aminoglycoside antibiotics showed acute tubular injury with EM findings of myeloid bodies, characterized by laminated dense materials in lysosomes in both proximal and distal tubular epithelium (diagnostic evidence). Five cases of vancomycin associated nephrotoxicity presented with acute tubular injury and vancomycin casts in distal tubules, characterized by central laminated casts in the lumina of distal tubules (supportive evidence). Vedolizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody used in treating Crohn’s disease, can cause T-cell dominant acute interstitial nephritis, with EM revealing lymphocytic infiltration into tubules as tubulitis (supportive evidence). Four of Seven cases (5/8) cases had renal functional recovery upon follow-up check for sCr. EM findings of characteristic changes in renal tubules can be particularly useful as either diagnostic or supportive evidence, in correlation with clinical history and etiologies of nephrotoxicity. Therefore, EM should not only focus on glomerular changes, but renal tubular changes as well.





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