Scott Charles Beeman1, Min Zhang2, Lina Gubhaju3, David Frakes1,2, John Bertram3, Teresa Wu2, Kevin Bennett1
1School of Biological & Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA; 2School of Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA; 3Department of Anatomy & Developmental Biology, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
We have developed and validated robust molecular imaging and image processing techniques that, together, produce an accurate count of individual nephrons. Our technique showed a strong aptitude for isolating nephrons labeled with the cationic form of the superparamagnetic protein ferritin from 3D MRI volumes. The algorithm counted 32,2632,967 nephrons per kidney in whole kidneys. This compares well to the established histological acid maceration count of 30,5852,053 per kidney. This work makes it possible to assess whole kidney nephron endowment to study susceptibility to systemic renal diseases in animals and humans.