Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Aaron Polichnowski

Thesis Professor Department

Biomedical Sciences

Thesis Reader(s)

Donald Hoover


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) progresses faster in males than females; however, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Sex differences in glomerular capillary morphology has been hypothesized to contribute, in part, to the increased susceptibility to hypertension-induced renal injury and CKD progression in males, but this has not been investigated. The goal of the present study was to assess glomerular capillary morphology in male vs. female rats with intact kidneys and after uninephrectomy (UNX). We hypothesized that glomerular capillary radii (RCAP) and length (LCAP) would be greater in male rats.

Male (n=4) and female (n=4) with intact kidneys and UNX (n=4 males, n=4 females) provided a 0.4% NaCl diet and water ad libitum. Kidneys were perfusion-fixed, the left kidney was excised, and a 3 mm transverse section through the midline of the kidney was selected for further processing. Multiple 1 mm3 cubes were randomly excised from the left, middle, and right regions of the outer cortex, embedded in EPONTM, sectioned (1 μm), and stained with toluidine blue. Four glomeruli from each region were randomly selected for stereological analysis. Glomerular tuft volume (VG), RCAP, and LCAP were assessed.

In rats with intact kidneys, no significant sex differences were observed in VG, RCAP, or LCAP. VG, RCAP, and LCAP were significant greater in both male and female rats with UNX vs. respective rats with intact kidneys. In rats with UNX, males exhibited a significantly greater VG and LCAP, but not RCAP, as compared to females despite no significant differences in relative kidney weight.

These data indicate that males exhibit greater compensatory increases in LCAP following UNX. The greater capillary length may lead to reduced podocyte density, a well-known mechanism that increases the susceptibility to CKD progression.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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