Acute renal failure developed in a patient accompanied by systemic manifestations such as myopathy and skin rash. The patient, a middle aged house wife, had been taking 600 mg of germanium (Ge) preparation daily for 18 months as an elixir. The main component of the preparation was GeO2 and some organic compound was also present. Histological study of the kidney post mortem showed foamy cell transformation of glomerular epithelia, degeneration of tubular epithelia with red blood cell casts and urate crystals, and a mild proliferation of mesangial matrix. Analysis of the tissue content of Ge, prompted by her history, revealed an increased accumulation of the metal. As compared to a non-user died of liver cirrhosis, the concentration of the metal was higher particularly in the spleen (183×), thyroid gland (175×), psoas muscle (93×), jejunum (76×), and renal cortex (69×). So far, neither accumulation of Ge in humal tissue nor systemic toxicity of the Ge in human has been reported. The relevance of massive accumulation of Ge to the renal failure as well as to other systemic manifestations the patient presented remains to be clarified.
The Japanese Society of Toxicology Headquarters