To explore the incidence of thin membrane nephropathy (thin basement membrane syndrome, benign familial haematuria), glomerular basement membrane thickness was assessed by light and electron microscopy and by morphometry in a series of newly transplanted allograft kidneys, in lieu of normal kidney specimens. Five of the 76 donors possessed an abnormally thin basement membrane, similar to that observed in thin membrane nephropathy, while in two others the measurements fell in the overlap range between thin and normal. Seven donors therefore had a definite or possible basement membrane lesion. After taking account of an additional series of controls, unrelated to transplantation, it is suggested that the incidence of this abnormality in the general population lies between 5.2% and 9.2%. Circumstances did not allow any association between a thin basement membrane and haematuria or other clinical manifestations to be detected.
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