Phenotyping by magnetic resonance imaging nondestructively measures glomerular number and volume distribution in mice with and without nephron reduction

Kidney Int. 2016 Feb;89(2):498-505. doi: 10.1038/ki.2015.316.


Reduced nephron mass is strongly linked to susceptibility to chronic renal and cardiovascular diseases. There are currently no tools to identify nephropenia in clinical or preclinical diagnostics. Such new methods could uncover novel mechanisms and therapies for chronic kidney disease (CKD) and reveal how variation among traits can affect renal function and morphology. Here we used cationized ferritin (CF)–enhanced MRI (CFE-MRI) to investigate the relationship between glomerular number (Nglom) and volume (Vglom) in kidneys of healthy wild-type mice and mice with oligosyndactylism (Os/+), a model of congenital nephron reduction. Mice were injected with CF and perfused, and the resected kidneys were imaged with 7T MRI to detect CF-labeled glomeruli. CFE-MRI was used to measure the intrarenal distribution of individual glomerular volumes and revealed two major populations of glomeruli distinguished by size. Spatial mapping revealed that the largest glomeruli were located in the juxtamedullary region in both wild-type and Os/+ mice and the smallest population located in the cortex. Os/+ mice had about a 50% reduction and 35% increase of Nglom and Vglom, respectively, in both glomerular populations compared with wild type, consistent with glomerular hypertrophy in the Os/+ mice. Thus, we provide a foundation for whole-kidney, MRI-based phenotyping of mouse renal glomerular morphology and provide new potential for quantitative human renal diagnostics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Kidney / abnormalities*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL