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November 1963

The Macula Densa and Juxtaglomerular Body in Cirrhosis

Author Affiliations


Research fellow in experimental pathology, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation (Dr. Reeves); Instructor in Medicine, Tufts University, and Clinical Investigator, Veterans Administration Hospital (Dr. Lowenstein); Pathologist of Scripps Memorial Hospital (Dr. Sommers).

From the department of pathology, Scripps Memorial Hospital, LaJolla, Calif; department of medicine, Boston Veterans Administration Hospital; and the department of medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(5):708-715. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860050095010

Introduction  Patients with cirrhosis frequently have impaired water and sodium excretion. Hyponatremia, ascites, and edema are often present, and renal failure may occur terminally.1,2 No renal pathology has been found to account for these abnormalities. However, the juxtaglomerular bodies and the maculae densae in the kidney have not been investigated in these patients. These renal structures are probably associated with the regulation of water and sodium balance. The juxtaglomerular body is a small group of epithelioid cells that lie in the media of the afferent arteriole near each renal glomerulus (Fig 1). An increase in the granularity and the number of the juxtaglomerular cells has been associated with changes in water and sodium balance, and it is thought that the cells are responsible for the production of renin.3 A study of the juxtaglomerular bodies in patients with cirrhosis was therefore undertaken.Adjacent to the juxtaglomerular body is the