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Morphologic changes in tubular cells from in situ kidneys following experimental hypothermia and rewarming

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Tveita T, Johansen K, Hovda Lien A, Myklebust R, Lindal S. Morphological changes in tubular cells from in situ kidneys following experimental hypothermia and rewarming. APMIS 2005;113:13–20.

Although renal failure may occur following rewarming from deep accidental hypothermia, this subject has received little attention in experimental hypothermia and clinical case reports. In order to explore the integrity of hypothermic and posthypothermic renal morphology we used an experimental animal model of accidental hypothermia where the heart supports the circulation throughout cooling and rewarming without accompanying cardioplegia or ischemia. Ultrastructural changes in renal tubular cells from three groups of pentobarbital anesthetized Wistar rats: 1) controls (n=6) maintained at 37 °C for 4 h, 2) hypothermic rats (n=6) core-cooled and maintained at 15–13 °C for 4 h, and 3) rewarmed rats (n=10), were studied as a sensitive indicator of renal damage. Electron micrographs (EM) from hypothermic kidneys showed rounded up mitochondria with loss of contrast. These changes were observed in several though not all of the biopsies, but they were found in all kidneys. Areas exhibiting focal tubular necrosis were seen on most EM from three of these kidneys. EM from rewarmed kidneys showed alterations of mitochondrial ultrastructure with similarities to those observed after hypothermia, but in general the changes were more prominent. Extracellular edema, intracellular edema, swelling of mitochondria, margination of chromatin, necrosis of single tubular cells, and disrupting necrotic debris into tubular lumen could be found in micrographs from 7 of the 10 kidneys examined. Rewarming from experimental hypothermia, without episodes of ischemia or hypoxia, thus induces ultrastructural changes in renal tubular cells similar to changes observed in acute tubular necrosis, associated with renal failure.

Keywords: Accidental hypothermia; acute tubular necrosis; cold; renal failure; renal ultrastructure; temperature

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Anesthesiology, Institute of Clinical Medicine and 2: Department of Pathology, Institute of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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