Estimating glomerular number: why we do it and how

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There is currently much interest in determining the number of glomeruli, and thereby nephrons, in the kidney. Researchers have been trying to count glomeruli since the 19th century and currently four general approaches are available: (i) acid maceration; (ii) counting glomerular profiles in histological sections; (iii) model-based stereology; and (iv) design-based stereology. Although design-based stereological methods are generally considered the gold-standard method, all current methods have limitations. A new approach using magnetic resonance imaging has recently been described and may ultimately enable glomerular imaging and quantification in vivo. This report considers the advantages and disadvantages of current methods for counting glomeruli and describes the new magnetic resonance approach. In addition, a method for counting glomeruli in developing kidneys is described.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785 - 788
Number of pages4
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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