Kidney nontumor
Tubular and interstitial diseases
Lead nephropathy

Author: Nikhil Sangle, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 23 March 2018, last major update December 2012

Copyright: (c) 2003-2018, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Lead nephropathy [title]

Cite this page: Sangle, N. Lead nephropathy. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/kidneylead.html. Accessed May 24th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Kidney is main route for lead removal from body; lead is absorbed by proximal tubular cells, binds to specific proteins; with acute lead nephrotoxicity in dose-response relationship (Zhonghua Lao Dong Wei Sheng Zhi Ye Bing Za Zhi 2010;28:170), these lead-protein complexes are seen as intracellular inclusions (eMedicine: Lead nephropathy [Accessed 28 December 2017])
  • Due to occupational (electric storage battery makers, foundrymen, jewelers, painters, welders) or environmental causes (children eating lead pain, water in lead pipe systems, lead earthenware, moonshine liquor)
  • Lead exposure damages central and peripheral nervous system, GI tract and kidney
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis
  • Tubular inclusions are eosinophilic and intranuclear or cytoplasmic, acid-fast and red with Giemsa stain
  • Arteriolar disease similar to nephrosclerosis
  • Tubules disappear in chronic disease; no inflammation
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:
Missing Image

Nonspecific tubular
atrophy and interstitial
fibrosis, absence of
interstitial infiltrate
Missing Image

Lead inclusions in
nucleus of tubular cells
Electron microscopy description
  • Inclusions are lead-protein complex that appear as compact cores surrounded by loose meshwork of fibrils