Early chronic low-level lead exposure produces glomerular hypertrophy in young C57BL/6J mice

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Early chronic lead exposure continues to pose serious health risks for children, particularly those living in lower socioeconomic environments. This study examined effects on developing glomeruli in young C57BL/6J mice exposed to low (30 ppm), higher (330 ppm) or no lead via dams’ drinking water from birth to sacrifice on post-natal day 28. Low-level lead exposed mice [BLL mean (SD); 3.19 (0.70) μg/dL] had an increase in glomerular volume but no change in podocyte number compared to control mice [0.03 (0.01) μg/dL]. Higher-level lead exposed mice [14.68 (2.74) μg/dL] had no change in either glomerular volume or podocyte number. The increase in glomerular volume was explained by increases in glomerular capillary and mesangial volumes with no change in podocyte volume. Early chronic lead exposure yielding very low blood lead levels alters glomerular development in pre-adolescent animals.