Renal corpuscles from the juxtamedullary and subcapsular regions of the renal cortex were morphometrically analyzed in young rats and in adult rats that had been unilaterally nephrectomized or sham-operated at an early age. Mean corpuscular volumes increased 4.5-fold during normal development, and 7.7-fold as a result of compensatory hypertrophy in both cortical regions. Relative and absolute volumes were determined for Bowman's space, the glomerular tuft, and five glomerular components: epithelial, endothelial, and mesangial cells, capillaries, and the filtration membrane. Normal and hypertrophic enlargement of Bowman's space was slightly greater than glomerular growth, and the growth response of subcapsular glomeruli was greater than that of juxtamedullary glomeruli. The ratio of mean glomerular volumes between outer and inner glomeruli was 1:2 in both adult groups. Both adult groups also developed nearly identical proportions of all glomerular component structures, representing a relative decrease of epithelial cells and increase of capillaries compared to the young animals. Normal and hypertrophic maturation involved absolute increases in all glomerular cell populations, the length of capillary loops and the surface area of the filtration membrane, all nearly in proportion to the respective four- and seven-fold increases in glomerular volume. Changes in the filtration surface area are consistent with published data for glomerular filtration rates in normal and hypertrophied kidneys. The mean cell size in epithelial and mesangial populations doubled during growth, but was not greater than normal in mononephrectomized rats. Hyperplasia among all populations of glomerular cells is indicated in normal growth, and to a greater extent in compensatory renal hypertrophy.

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