Fluorescent microangiography is a novel and widely applicable technique for delineating the renal microvasculature

PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e24695. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024695. Epub 2011 Oct 3.


Rarefaction of the renal microvasculature correlates with declining kidney function. However, current technologies commonly used for its evaluation are limited by their reliance on endothelial cell antigen expression and assessment in two dimensions. We set out to establish a widely applicable and unbiased optical sectioning method to enable three dimensional imaging and reconstruction of the renal microvessels based on their luminal filling. The kidneys of subtotally nephrectomized (SNx) rats and their sham-operated counterparts were subjected to either routine two-dimensional immunohistochemistry or the novel technique of fluorescent microangiography (FMA). The latter was achieved by perfusion of the kidney with an agarose suspension of fluorescent polystyrene microspheres followed by optical sectioning of 200 µm thick cross-sections using a confocal microscope. The fluorescent microangiography method enabled the three-dimensional reconstruction of virtual microvascular casts and confirmed a reduction in both glomerular and peritubular capillary density in the kidneys of SNx rats, despite an overall increase in glomerular volume. FMA is an uncomplicated technique for evaluating the renal microvasculature that circumvents many of the limitations imposed by conventional analysis of two-dimensional tissue sections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fluorescein Angiography / methods*
  • Kidney / blood supply*
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney / surgery
  • Male
  • Microvessels / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nephrectomy
  • Radiography
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley