The roles of glomerular functional and morphologic changes were examined in the acute renal failure associated with generalized Shwartzman reaction in postpartum Munich Wistar rats. The susceptibility of postpartum rats to acute deterioration in renal function after a 2-h endotoxin infusion was found to be greater than in virgin litter mates: glomerular filtration rate fell by 93% in the former vs. 24% in the latter group (P less than 0.001). In postpartum rats there were marked changes in platelet count and fibrinogen level (P less than 0.025) compatible with consumption coagulopathy. Renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate fell from 5.5 +/- 0.9 and 0.74 +/- 0.12 to 2.0 +/- 0.7 and 0.12 +/- 0.01 ml/min, respectively (both P less than 0.001). Blood pressure did not change. Results of glomerular dynamics studies showed decreases in single nephron filtration rate from 28 +/- 7 to 6 +/- 4 nl/min and in glomerular plasma flow rate from 77 +/- 26 to 23 +/- 12 nl/min (both P less than 0.001). Afferent net ultrafiltration pressure fell from 20 +/- 3 to 5 +/- 4 mm Hg due to a fall in glomerular capillary hydraulic pressure from 47 +/- 1 to 29 +/- 5 mm Hg (P less than 0.001). There were four- and twofold increases in afferent and efferent arteriolar resistances, respectively. Less than 20% of glomeruli had evidence of fibrin deposition after 2 h of endotoxin infusion, a time when glomerular filtration rate was reduced by greater than 90%. [1-Sar, 5-Ile, 8-Gly] angiotensin II infusion before endotoxin significantly protected glomerular filtration rate, 62 vs. 7% of control in rats with no preinfusion (P less than 0.01) despite consumption coagulopathy and glomerular fibrin deposition similar to rats without pretreatment. These data suggest that the early deterioration in renal function in the generalized Shwartzman reaction in the postpartum rat is due to major changes in glomerular dynamics induced by neurohumoral agents and that glomerular fibrin deposition plays a lesser pathogenetic role at this time in this disorder. The study does not address the pathogenesis of renal failure in pregnancy nor peripartum renal failure in another species.
J D Conger, S A Falk, S J Guggenheim