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Definition of «Nephritis»


Nephritis: Inflammation of the kidney. Nephritis can be acute or chronic.

Acute nephritis is most commonly caused by hypersensitivity (allergy) to drug therapy. Recognition of a drug-related cause is important because severe renal damage is often preventable or reversible. The most frequent drugs involved include analgesics (e.g., acetaminophen and aspirin), cyclosporine and tacrolimus (immunosuppressants used in transplantation and treatment of some autoimmune disorders), anti-cancer drugs (e.g., cisplatin; nitrosoureas; rarely, carboplatin), and lithium (for depressive disease). Sarcoidosis, Legionella, leptospirosis, Streptococcus, and viral infections, and certain Chinese herbs may also be responsible for acute nephritis.

Chronic nephritis can similarly be due to a very large number of causes, including drug hypersensitivity, autoimmunity, infections, radiation of the kidney, obstruction of the urinary tract, hypertension (high blood pressure is a very well known cause of chronic nephritis), sickle cell disease, and polycystic disease of the kidney.

Nephritis also results from metabolic and toxic disorders, including the deposition of urates (uric acid) in the kidney, hypercalcemia (high blood calcium) with deposition of calcium in the kidney, chronic lead intoxication, and cadmium toxicity.

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