The aim of this presentation is to draw attention to the problems inherent in evaluating the ultrastructure of percutaneous renal biopsies and to discuss some of the special techniques which are useful in this area. It is important to realize that the ultrastructure as it appears in this kind of material does not necessarily reflect conditions in vivo. Comparison with suitable reference material may, however, permit reliable conclusions in terms of pathological diagnosis and pathogenesis. It is advocated that purely qualitative methods, which until now have predominated in ultrastructure work with renal biopsies, be replaced by morphometry and semiquantitative methods when it is possible and practical to do so in any research situation.
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