Single-channel Analysis and Calcium Imaging in the Podocytes of the Freshly Isolated Glomeruli

J Vis Exp. 2015 Jun 27;(100):e52850. doi: 10.3791/52850.

Abstract

Podocytes (renal glomerular epithelial cells) are known to regulate glomerular permeability and maintain glomerular structure; a key role for these cells in the pathogenesis of various renal diseases has been established since podocyte injury leads to proteinuria and foot process effacement. It was previously reported that various endogenous agents may cause a dramatic overload in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration in podocytes, presumably leading to albuminuria, and this likely occurs via calcium-conducting ion channels. Therefore, it appeared important to study calcium handling in the podocytes both under normal conditions and in various pathological states. However, available experimental approaches have remained somewhat limited to cultured and transfected cells. Although they represent a good basic model for such studies, they are essentially extracted from the native environment of the glomerulus. Here we describe the methodology of studying podocytes as a part of the freshly isolated whole glomerulus. This preparation retains the functional potential of the podocytes, which are still attached to the capillaries; therefore, podocytes remain in the environment that conserves the major parts of the glomeruli filtration apparatus. The present manuscript elaborates on two experimental approaches that allow 1) real-time detection of calcium concentration changes with the help of ratiometric confocal fluorescence microscopy, and 2) the recording of the single ion channels activity in the podocytes of the freshly isolated glomeruli. These methodologies utilize the advantages of the native environment of the glomerulus that enable researchers to resolve acute changes in the intracellular calcium handling in response to applications of various agents, measure basal concentration of calcium within the cells (for instance, to evaluate disease progression), and assess and manipulate calcium conductance at the level of single ion channels.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Channels / analysis
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods
  • Kidney Glomerulus / chemistry
  • Kidney Glomerulus / cytology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Podocytes / chemistry
  • Podocytes / cytology
  • Podocytes / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley

Substances

  • Calcium Channels
  • Calcium