The aim was to quantify the glomerular capillary surface area, the segmental tubular radius, length, and area of single nephrons in mouse and rat kidneys. Multiple 2.5-µm-thick serial Epon sections were obtained from three mouse and three rat kidneys for three-dimensional reconstruction of the nephron tubules. Micrographs were aligned for each kidney, and 359 nephrons were traced and their segments localized. 30 mouse and 30 rat nephrons were selected for further investigation. The luminal radius of each segment was determined by two methods. The luminal surface area was estimated from the radius and length of each segment. High resolution micrographs were recorded for five rat glomeruli, and the capillary surface area determined. The capillary volume and surface area were corrected for glomerular shrinkage. A positive correlation was found between glomerular capillary area and proximal tubule area. The thickest part of the nephron, i.e. the proximal tubule, was followed by the thinnest part of the nephron, i.e. the descending thin limb, and the diameters of the seven identified nephron segments share the same rank in the two species. The radius and length measurements from mouse and rat nephrons generally share the same pattern; rat tubular radius/mouse tubular radius ratio ≈ 1.47, and rat tubular length/mouse tubular length ratio ≈ 2.29, suggesting relatively longer tubules in the rat. The detailed tables of mouse and rat glomerular capillary area and segmental radius, length, and area values may be used to enhance understanding of the associated physiology, including existing steady-state-models of the urine-concentrating mechanism.
- Rat and mouse kidney morphology
- three-dimensional structural analysis
- digital tracing
- glomerular capillary area
- Copyright © 2016, American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology