3D virtual histology of murine kidneys - high resolution visualization of pathological alterations by micro computed tomography


The increasing number of patients with end stage chronic kidney disease not only calls for novel therapeutics but also for pioneering research using convincing preclinical disease models and innovative analytical techniques. The aim of this study was to introduce a virtual histology approach using micro computed tomography (mu CT) for the entire murine kidney in order to close the gap between single slice planar histology and a 3D high resolution dataset. An ex vivo staining protocol based on phosphotungstic acid diffusion was adapted to enhance renal soft tissue x-ray attenuation. Subsequent CT scans allowed (i) the detection of the renal cortex, medulla and pelvis in greater detail, (ii) the analysis of morphological alterations, (iii) the quantification of the volume as well as the radio-opacity of these portions and (iv) the quantification of renal fibrotic remodeling based on altered radio-opacity using the unilateral ureteral obstruction model. Thus, virtual histology based on PTA contrast enhanced CT will in future help to refine the outcome of preclinical research on kidney associated murine disease models.

Scientific Reports 8: 1407