Quantitative intravital microscopy using a Generalized Polarity concept for kidney studies

Weiming Yu, Ruben M. Sandoval, Bruce A. Molitoris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


In this article, we describe a ratiometric intravital two-photon microscopy technique for studying glomerular permeability and differences in proximal tubule cell reabsorption. This quantitative approach is based on the Generalized Polarity (GP) concept, in which the intensity difference between two fluorescent molecules is normalized to the total intensity produced by the two dyes. After an initial intravenous injection of a mixture of 3-, 40-, and 70-kDa fluorescently labeled dextrans into live Munich-Wistar-Frömter (MWF) rats, we were able to monitor changes in the GP values between any two dyes within local regions of the kidney, including the glomerulus, Bowman's capsule, proximal tubule lumens and proximal tubule cells, and individual capillary vessels. We were able to quantify accumulations of different dextrans in the Bowman's space and in tubular lumens as well as reabsorption by proximal tubular cells at different time points in the same rat. We found that for 6- to 8-wk-old MWF rats that developed spontaneous albuminuria, the 40- and 70-kDa dextrans, with hydrodynamic radii larger than albumin, were differentially filtered, but both were able to pass the glomerular filtration barrier and enter into the urinary space of the Bowman's capsule within a few seconds after intravenous infusion. Using GP image analysis, we found that negatively charged dextrans of both 40 and 70 kDa were better reabsorbed by the proximal tubule cells than the neutrally charged 40-kDa dextran. These results demonstrate the potential power of the GP imaging technique for quantitative studies of glomerular filtration and tubular reabsorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1197-C1208
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number5 58-5
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Charge selectivity
  • Glomerular permeability
  • Multiphoton
  • Tubular reabsorption
  • Two-photon excitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology

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