In vivo imaging of leukocyte recruitment to glomeruli in mice using intravital microscopy

Methods Mol Biol. 2009;466:109-117. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-352-3_8.


Leukocytes mediate some forms of glomerulonephritis, particularly severe proliferative and crescentic forms. The renal glomerulus is one of the few sites within the microvasculature in which leukocyte recruitment occurs in capillaries. However, due to the difficulty of directly visualising the glomerulus, the mechanisms of leukocyte recruitment to glomerular capillaries are poorly understood. To overcome this, a murine kidney can be rendered hydronephrotic, by ligating one ureter, and allowing the mouse to rest for 12 weeks. This allows the visualisation of the glomerular microvasculature during inflammatory responses. In inflammation, in this example induced by anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) antibody, leukocytes can be observed undergoing adhesion in glomerular capillaries using intravital microscopy. Leukocyte adhesion can be quantitated using this approach. An observation protocol involving few, limited periods of epifluorescence avoids phototoxicity-induced leukocyte recruitment. The process of hydronephrosis does not alter the ability of anti-GBM-antibody to induce a glomerular inflammatory response. This approach allows detailed investigation of the mechanisms of leukocyte recruitment within glomeruli.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Kidney Glomerulus / cytology*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / immunology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology
  • Leukocytes / cytology
  • Leukocytes / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy / methods*