Morphometric analysis of glomerular basement membranes (GBM) in thin basement membrane disease (TBMD)

G. Basta-Jovanovic, V. S. Venkataseshan, J. Gil, D. U. Kim, S. H. Dikman, J. Churg

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We measured the thickness of glomerular basement membrane in 46 patients with thin basement membrane disease (TBMD), (age range 15-50 years, almost equal M:F ratio), and compared with that in a control group of 5 patients (age range 5-38 years) with normal glomerular morphology. The measurements of glomerular basement membrane taken from electron micrographs (magnification x 12,500) were analyzed using an interactive image analysis system assembled around an INTEL to 10 microcomputer, with a high resolution touch sensitive screen as the interactive peripheral. Calculation was done by printing on an electron micrograph a grating replica (21,600 lines/cm), with the same magnification as the electron micrographs of the glomeruli and calibrating the arithmetic (AM) and harmonic (HM) mean for each case. Comparing the results of TBMD cases (AM 129-202 nm; HM 128-213 nm) with those of the control group consisting of 5 cases of 'minimal change nephrotic syndrome' (AM 287-317 nm; HM 300-333 nm) it was found that GMB in TBMD is remarkably thin. The thinning was caused mainly by the decreased width of the lamina densa (TBMD group: 71.4-147.0 nm; HM 72.4-154.4 nm in comparison with the control group: AM 174.4-235.5 nm; HM 184.2-249.6 nm). This finding allows us to differentiate thin basement membrane disease from other glomerulopathies presenting primarily with isolated or recurrent hematuria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-114
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Nephrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • electron microscopy
  • hematuria
  • morphometry
  • thin basement membrane disease


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