Inflammation of the glomeruli, or glomerulonephritis, is believed to be an autoimmune disease—a disease that involves the person's own antibodies (as described in chapter 15). These antibodies may have been raised against the basement membrane of the glomerular capillaries. More commonly, however, they appear to have been produced in response to streptococcus infections (such as strep throat). A variable number of glomeruli are destroyed in this condition, and the remaining glomeruli become more permeable to plasma proteins. Leakage of proteins into the urine results in decreased plasma colloid osmotic pressure and can therefore lead to edema.

Clinical Investigation Clue

Remember that Emily had a month-long streptococcus infection and that her symptoms disappeared after taking an antibiotic (plus hydrochlorothiazide). ■ How might the strep infection be related to kidney function and to Emily's symptoms?

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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