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The term glomerulonephritis encompasses a range of immune-mediated disorders that cause inflammation within the glomerulus and other compartments of the kidney. Studies with animal models have shown the crucial interaction between bone-marrow-derived inflammatory cells and cells intrinsic to the kidney that is both fundamental and unique to the pathogenesis of glomerulonephritis. The mechanisms of interaction between these cells and the mediators of their coordinated response to inflammation are being elucidated. Despite these pathophysiological advances, treatments for glomerulonephritis remain non-specific, hazardous, and only partly successful. Glomerulonephritis therefore remains a common cause of end-stage kidney failure worldwide. Molecule-specific approaches offer hope for more effective and safer treatments in the future.