Current research on hypertension utilizes more than fifty animal models that rely mainly on stable increases in systolic blood pressure. In experimental hypertension, grading or scoring of glomerulopathy in the majority of studies is based on a wide range of opinion-based histological changes that do not necessarily comply with lesional descriptors for glomerular injury that are well-established in clinical pathology. Here, we provide a critical appraisal of experimental hypertensive glomerulopathy with the same approach used to assess hypertensive glomerulopathy in humans. Four hypertensive models with varying pathogenesis were analyzed–chronic angiotensin II infused mice, mice expressing active human renin in the liver (TTRhRen), spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR), and Goldblatt two-kidney one-clip rats (2K1C). Analysis of glomerulopathy utilized the same criteria applied in humans–hyalinosis, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), ischemic, hypertrophic and solidified glomeruli, or global glomerulosclerosis (GGS). Data from animal models were compared to human reference values. Kidneys in TTRhRen mice, SHR and the nonclipped kidneys in 2K1C rats had no sign of hyalinosis, FSGS or GGS. Glomerulopathy in these groups was limited to variations in mesangial and capillary compartment volumes, with mild increases in collagen deposition. Histopathology in angiotensin II infused mice corresponded to mesangioproliferative glomerulonephritis, but not hypertensive glomerulosclerosis. The number of nephrons was significantly reduced in TTRhRen mice and SHR, but did not correlate with severity of glomerulopathy. The most substantial human-like glomerulosclerotic lesions, including FSGS, ischemic obsolescent glomeruli and GGS, were found in the clipped kidneys of 2K1C rats. The comparison of affected kidneys to healthy control in animals produces lesion values that are numerically impressive but correspond to mild damage if compared to humans. Animal studies should be standardized by employing the criteria and classifications established in human pathology to make experimental and human data fully comparable for comprehensive analysis and model improvements.
ASJC Scopus subject areas