A new analysis approach for single nephron GFR in intravital microscopy of mice

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Background: Intravital microscopy is an emerging technique in life science with applications in kidney research. Longitudinal observation of (patho-)physiological processes in living mice is possible in the smallest functional unit of the kidney, a single nephron (sn). In particular, effects on glomerular filtration rate (GFR) - a key parameter of renal function - can be assessed. Methods: After intravenous injection of a freely filtered, non-resorbable, fluorescent dye in C57BL/6 mice, a time series was captured by multiphoton microsopy. Filtration was observed from the glomerular capillaries to the proximal tubule (PT) and the tubular signal intensity shift was analyzed to calculate the snGFR. Results: Previously described methods for snGFR analysis relied on two manually defined measurement points in the PT and the tubular volume was merely estimated in 2D images. We present an extended image processing workflow by adding continuous measurement of intensity along the PT in every frame of the time series using ImageJ. Automatic modelling of actual PT volume in a 3D dataset replaced 2D volume estimation. Subsequent data analysis in R, with a calculation of intensity shifts in every frame and normalization against tubular volume, allowed exact assessment of snGFR by linear regression. Repeated analysis of image data obtained in healthy mice showed a striking increase of reproducibility by reduction of user interaction. Conclusions: These improvements in image processing and data analysis maximize the reliability of a sophisticated intravital microscopy technique for the precise assessment of snGFR, a highly relevant predictor of kidney function.


PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2021

Externe IDs

PubMed 34290860
ORCID /0000-0003-2739-345X/work/142239601
ORCID /0000-0002-1507-8009/work/142241675



  • 2-Photon Microscopy, ImageJ, Intravital Microscopy, Kidney, R, Single Nephron GFR