Exposure to organic solvents was compared by interview and questionnaire in 50 patients with biopsy-proven proliferative glomerulonephritis in whom there was no evidence of systemic disease or preceding infection with that of 100 control subjects matched for age, sex and social class. The interview was conducted by a lay person who did not know whether the interviewee was a patient with glomerulonephritis or a control subject. The exposure scores derived from the results of the questionnaires were significantly greater in the patients with glomerulonephritis than the control subjects (13,186 ± 3,716 vs. 3,030 ± 1,152, p < 0.01). The degree of exposure was higher in those patients with the more severe diffuse endocapillary proliferative glomerulonephritis than in those with mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis. In the glomerulonephritis patients solvent exposure was mainly occupational in origin and involved fuels, paints and degreasing agents in most cases. This occupational exposure was significantly greater than in the control subjects (13,061 ± 3,858 vs. 2,878 ± 1,146, p < 0.01). It is suggested that exposure to organic solvents may participate in the pathogenesis of non-systemic proliferative glomerulonephritis.

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