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A diagnostician's field guide to crystalline nephropathies

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Published:30th Apr 2020
Author: Nicholas Cossey L, Dvanajscak Z, Larsen CP.
Availability: Free full text
Ref.:Semin Diagn Pathol. 2020 May;37(3):135-142.
DOI:10.1053/j.semdp.2020.02.002
A diagnostician's field guide to crystalline nephropathies


The kidney's role in filtration of blood and production of urine occurs via a combination of size and charge filtration at the glomerular basement membrane and resorption and excretion of molecules through a complex tubular system embedded within an ion gradient. This delicate system provides the kidney with a unique propensity for substrate saturation and crystal nucleation within the nephron. While crystalline nephropathies may seem exotic to the uninitiated, they are comprised of easily recognizable morphologies and generally lack complicated classification schemas. Additionally, unlike many intrinsic kidney diseases, crystalline nephropathies are often associated with systemic conditions that, upon further investigation, may elucidate critically important information. This review focuses on practical, diagnostically relevant and high yield information that can be utilized by diagnosticians. Our hope is to equip the reader who reviews renal tissue with a practical toolkit that they feel empowered to use when faced with crystal formation in a kidney biopsy, pre-implantation biopsy, or nephrectomy specimen. Short Abstract The kidney's role in filtration of blood and production of urine provides a unique propensity for substrate saturation and crystal nucleation within the nephron. While crystalline nephropathies may seem exotic to the uninitiated, they are comprised of easily recognizable morphologies and generally lack complicated classification. Additionally, crystalline nephropathies are often associated with systemic conditions that, upon further investigation, may elucidate critically important information.


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