Harvest and primary culture of the murine aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2015 Jun 1;308(11):F1306-15. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00668.2014. Epub 2015 Mar 25.


The aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron (ASDN) exhibits axial heterogeneity in structure and function from the distal convoluted tubule to the medullary collecting duct. Ion and water transport is primarily divided between the cortex and medulla of the ASDN, respectively. Transcellular transport in this segment is highly regulated in health and disease and is integrated across different cell types. We currently lack an inexpensive, high-yield, and tractable technique to harvest and culture cells for the study of gene expression and physiological properties of mouse cortical ASDN. To address this need, we harvested tubules bound to Dolichos biflorus agglutinin lectin-coated magnetic beads from the kidney cortex and characterized these cell preparations. We determined that these cells are enriched for markers of distal convoluted tubule, connecting tubule, and cortical collecting duct, including principal and intercalated cells. In primary culture, these cells develop polarized monolayers with high resistance (1,000-1,500 Ω * cm(2)) and maintain expression and activity of key channels. These cells demonstrate an amiloride-sensitive short-circuit current that can be enhanced with aldosterone and maintain measurable potassium and anion secretion. Our method can be easily adopted to study the biology of the ASDN and to investigate phenotypic differences between wild-type and transgenic mouse models.

Keywords: collecting duct; distal convoluted tubule; distal nephron; intercalated cells; principal cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aldosterone / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Kidney Tubules, Collecting / metabolism*
  • Kidney Tubules, Distal / drug effects
  • Kidney Tubules, Distal / metabolism*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nephrons / drug effects
  • Nephrons / metabolism*
  • Potassium / metabolism


  • Aldosterone
  • Potassium