Powerful imaging tool unlocks kidneys' secrets

May 20, 2013
Powerful imaging tool unlocks kidneys’ secrets
Some of the images made possible using xGlom. Credit: Monash Biomedical Imaging

(Medical Xpress)—A powerful new way of imaging kidneys is providing scientists with insights into the importance of the body's filtering system and how it is affected by cardiovascular disease, stroke and other health concerns.

Monash University's Multimodal Kidney Image Analysis Project, a collaboration between the School of Biomedical Sciences and Monash Biomedical Imaging, with support from the Australian National Data Service, has produced a tool known as xGlom. xGlom uses and high-end computing power to deliver 3D images of the kidney in unprecedented detail and in a fraction of the time possible using traditional methods.

Head of the Monash Department of Anatomy and , Professor John Bertram is a world leader in kidney research and has been investigating the importance of glomeruli – tiny filtering units inside the kidney – for two decades.

"There is growing evidence that the number of glomeruli in the kidney – which can range from 200,000 to two million – is strongly linked, not only to , but to ," Professor Bertram said.

"You do not produce any glomeruli after birth, so if you're born with a low number, you're at higher risk of these very serious diseases."

Professor Bertram's research is focused on counting and sizing glomeruli and determining exactly how they relate to disease.

"In addition to being much faster than traditional methods, using xGlom means we can determine the size of every one of these filters in the kidney – that's never been possible before. So, if a kidney has one million glomeruli, we can determine the size of all of them and how they change with disease," Professor Bertram said.

Director of Monash , Professor Gary Egan, said the project automated a lot of the image processing and quantification procedures.

"We've developed a workflow that automatically feeds the images and reporting to John's team. It greatly improves the efficiency of the research," Professor Egan said.

"Further, because the image is taken of the entire kidney, we can look at the overall architecture of the organ and the progression of other disease processes, such as fibrosis and calcification.

"So in addition to further information about the glomeruli, xGlom can provide an overall picture of kidney health."

Explore further: Researchers develop blood test to detect membranous nephropathy

Related Stories

Identifying key regulators of kidney injury

May 9, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are a recently discovered class of RNA molecules that regulate how genes are expressed. UCD researchers led by Conway Fellow, Professor Catherine Godson are studying the role of miRNAs ...

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.