Background/Aims: Glomerular endothelial cells are fenestrated, allowing for especially high transcellular hydraulic conductivity. Current knowledge about endothelial fenestration structural changes in disease conditions is limited, partly due to the absence of robust methodologies to quantitate these structures. Herein, we propose a novel method for estimating the percentage of endothelial fenestration. Methods: An unbiased stereological method based on contiguity of two phases and surface area density estimation using isotropic uniform random line probes was developed. A line grid for intercept counting and classifying endothelial coverage of fenestrated versus non-fenestrated areas was designed. The method was applied to renal biopsies from 15 patients with Fabry disease and 9 normal living kidney donor controls. Results: The percentage of glomerular capillary endothelial coverage which was fenestrated was lower in Fabry patients (43 ± 12%) versus controls (53 ± 9%; p = 0.047). The fraction of endothelial surface which was fenestrated was greater on the peripheral versus mesangial zones of the capillary walls in both Fabry patients (p = 0.00002) and controls (p = 0.0005). Conclusion: The proposed method provides an unbiased tool to quantitate endothelial fenestration changes in glomeruli. The practical example introduced showed reduced glomerular endothelial fenestration in Fabry nephropathy.
- Fabry disease
- Fabry nephropathy