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Classification and external resources
MeSH D009393

Nephritis is inflammation of the kidneys and may involve the glomeruli, tubules, or interstitial tissue surrounding the glomeruli and tubules.[1] The term nephritis is derived from the Greek word for kidney, νεφρός.[2]




Nephritis is often caused by infections, toxins, and autoimmune diseases. It can be caused by infection, but is most commonly caused by autoimmune disorders that affect the major organs. For example, those with lupus are at a much higher risk for developing nephritis. In rare cases nephritis can be genetically inherited, though it may not present in childhood.


Nephritis is the most common producer of glomerular injury. It is a disturbance of the glomerular structure with inflammatory cell proliferation. This can lead to reduced glomerular blood flow, leading to reduced urine output (oliguria) and retention of waste products (uremia). As a result, red blood cells may leak out of damaged glomeruli, causing blood to appear in the urine (hematuria). Low renal blood flow activates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), causing fluid retention and mild hypertension.

Nephritis is a serious medical condition which is the eighth highest cause of human death. As the kidneys inflame, they begin to excrete needed protein from the body into the urine stream. This condition is called proteinuria. Loss of necessary protein due to nephritis can result in several life-threatening symptoms. The most serious complication of nephritis can occur if there is significant loss of the proteins that keep blood from clotting excessively. Loss of these proteins can result in blood clots causing sudden stroke.


Disability-adjusted life year for nephritis and nephrosis per 100,000 inhabitants in 2004.[4]
  no data
  less than 40
  more than 840

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Keto Acids – Advances in Research and Application 2013 Edition p.220e
  2. ^ "nephritis". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. 
  3. ^ a b c Gardner Jr, K. D. (1971). "Athletic nephritis: Pseudo and real". Annals of internal medicine 75 (6): 966–967. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-75-6-966. PMID 5167442. 
  4. ^ "WHO Disease and injury country estimates". World Health Organization. 2009. Retrieved Nov 11, 2009.