Decapsulation of the left kidney through a lumbar incision immediately prior to placing young rats on a choline-deficient diet afforded a significant degree of protection against animal mortality, compared with that which occurred as a result of the deficiency in the control groups. Decapsulation also was effective in reducing greatly the renal injury which developed in the decapsulated kidneys, as judged by a comparison of the decapsulated kidneys with the contralateral undecapsulated kidneys of the same animals. Decapsulation through an abdominal incision also was efficacious.
Decapsulation after 4 or 5 days on the deficient diet, at which time relatively early renal lesions were present in most of the animals, afforded little if any protection.
Experiments in which the usual adhesions between the decapsulated kidneys and surrounding tissues were prevented by covering the decapsulated kidneys with artificial capsules demonstrated that protection due to decapsulation could occur in the absence of adhesions.
Renal denervation without removal of the renal capsule was not associated with a decrease in renal damage or animal mortality.
Possible mechanisms of the protective effect of renal decapsulation in choline deficiency are discussed.