Digital pathology imaging as a novel platform for standardization and globalization of quantitative nephropathology

Clin Kidney J. 2017 Apr;10(2):176-187. doi: 10.1093/ckj/sfw129. Epub 2017 Feb 18.


The introduction of digital pathology to nephrology provides a platform for the development of new methodologies and protocols for visual, morphometric and computer-aided assessment of renal biopsies. Application of digital imaging to pathology made substantial progress over the past decade; it is now in use for education, clinical trials and translational research. Digital pathology evolved as a valuable tool to generate comprehensive structural information in digital form, a key prerequisite for achieving precision pathology for computational biology. The application of this new technology on an international scale is driving novel methods for collaborations, providing unique opportunities but also challenges. Standardization of methods needs to be rigorously evaluated and applied at each step, from specimen processing to scanning, uploading into digital repositories, morphologic, morphometric and computer-aided assessment, data collection and analysis. In this review, we discuss the status and opportunities created by the application of digital imaging to precision nephropathology, and present a vision for the near future.

Keywords: glomerulosclerosis; kidney biopsy; minimal change disease; nephrotic syndrome; proteinuria.