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Not to be confused with nephrosis.
Classification and external resources
Specialty Nephrology
MeSH D009393

Nephritis is inflammation of the kidneys and may involve the glomeruli, tubules, or interstitial tissue surrounding the glomeruli and tubules.[1]

Associated medical conditions[edit]

Enlarged kidney



Nephritis is often caused by infections, and toxins, but is most commonly caused by autoimmune disorders that affect the major organs like kidneys.[4]


Renin-angiotensin system

Nephritis can produce glomerular injury, by disturbing the glomerular structure with inflammatory cell proliferation.[8] This can lead to reduced glomerular blood flow, leading to reduced urine output (oliguria)[9] and retention of waste products (uremia). [10] As a result, red blood cells may leak out of damaged glomeruli, causing blood to appear in the urine (hematuria).[11] Low renal blood flow activates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), causing fluid retention and mild hypertension.[12]

As the kidneys inflame, they begin to excrete needed protein from the body into the urine stream. This condition is called proteinuria.[13] 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.[14]


Nephritis represents the ninth most common cause of death among all women in the US (and the fifth leading cause among non-Hispanic black women).[15] Worldwide the highest rates[clarification needed] of nephritis are 50-55% for African or Asian descent, then Hispanic at 43% and Caucasian at 17%.[16]

Disease burden of nephritis/nephrosis worldwide in 2004, depicted in terms of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death (disability-adjusted life years per 100,000 inhabitants).[17]
  no data
  less than 40
  more than 840

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Keto Acids – Advances in Research and Application 2013 Edition p.220e
  2. ^ "Glomerulonephritis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  3. ^ "Interstitial nephritis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  4. ^ "Nephritis". 
  5. ^ "Pyelonephritis: Kidney Infection". Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  6. ^ "Lupus Nephritis". Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  7. ^ Haematology Made Easy. AuthorHouse. 2013-02-06. ISBN 9781477246511. 
  8. ^ "Glomerular Diseases". Retrieved 2015-06-15. 
  9. ^ "oliguria". 
  10. ^ "uremia | accumulation in the blood of constituents normally eliminated in the urine that produces a severe toxic condition and usually occurs in severe kidney disease". Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  11. ^ "Hematuria (Blood in the Urine)". Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  12. ^ Ashar, Bimal; Miller, Redonda; Sisson, Stephen; Hospital, Johns Hopkins (2012-02-20). Johns Hopkins Internal Medicine Board Review: Certification and Recertification. Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 0323087981. 
  13. ^ "Proteinuria". Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  14. ^ Jr, Donald E. Thomas (2014-05-22). The Lupus Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Families. JHU Press. ISBN 9781421409849. 
  15. ^ "Leading Causes of Death - Women's Health USA 2010". Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  16. ^ Lerma, Edgar; Rosner, Mitchell (2012-10-28). Clinical Decisions in Nephrology, Hypertension and Kidney Transplantation. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781461444541. 
  17. ^ "WHO Disease and injury country estimates". World Health Organization. 2009. Retrieved Nov 11, 2009.