IMR Press / FBL / Volume 12 / Issue 7 / DOI: 10.2741/2244

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Article
Renal function during normal pregnancy and preeclampsia
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1 Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and MageeWomens Research Institute, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
2 Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL 32610-0274, USA
Academic Editor:Yuping Wang
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2007, 12(7), 2425–2437;
Published: 1 January 2007
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Placenta, endothelium, and preeclampsia)

Glomerular filtration rate and renal plasma flow increase by 40 to 65 and 50 to 85%, respectively, during normal pregnancy in women. Studies using the gravid rat as a model have greatly enhanced our understanding of mechanisms underlying these remarkable changes in the renal circulation during gestation. Hyperfiltration is largely due to increased renal plasma flow, the latter attributable to profound reductions in both the renal afferent and efferent arteriolar resistances. The ovarian hormone, relaxin, mediates renal vasodilation during pregnancy. Relaxin increases vascular gelatinase activity, thereby converting big ET to ET1-32, which leads to renal vasodilation, hyperfiltration and reduced myogenic reactivity of small renal arteries via the endothelial ETB receptor and nitric oxide. Serum concentration of uric acid falls during normal pregnancy as a consequence of increased GFR and/or reduced proximal tubular reabsorption. The elevated urinary excretion of protein during pregnancy is secondary to increased GFR, reduced proximal tubular reabsorption, and perhaps alteration in the electrostatic charge of the glomerular filter. Whether the tubular secretion of Tamm-Horsfall protein increases during normal pregnancy is uncertain. In most women with preeclampsia, renal plasma flow and glomerular filtration rate are at most only modestly decreased as a consequence of increased afferent arteriolar resistance and/or reduced ultrafiltration coefficient. Serum uric acid concentrations are increased mainly as a consequence of reduced renal clearance. Reduced GFR leads to decreased filtered load of uric acid, and plasma volume contraction contributes to increased proximal tubular reabsorption coupled to sodium. The increase in urinary protein excretion in preeclampsia occurs secondary to alterations in the size and/or charge selectivity of the glomerular filter, possible increases in glomerular capillary pressure, and compromise of proximal tubular reabsorption. The renal histologic lesion characteristic of preeclampsia is termed "glomerular endotheliosis". Recent evidence suggests that anti-angiogenic factors emanating from the placenta in preeclampsia contribute to glomerular endotheliosis, proteinuria, and hypertension during disease.

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