Powerful imaging tool unlocks kidneys' secrets

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."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Identifying key regulators of kidney injury

May 09, 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

Leprosy: Myanmar struggles with ancient scourge

3 hours ago

High in the hills of Myanmar's war-torn borderlands, a clutch of new leprosy cases among communities virtually cut off from medical help is a sign that the country's battle with the ancient disease is far from over.

New analysis questions use of acute hemodialysis treatment

17 hours ago

A common approach to treating kidney failure by removing waste products from the blood did not improve survival chances for people who suddenly developed the condition, in an analysis led by experts at the University of Pittsburgh ...

WHO: West Africa Ebola death toll rises to 1,350 (Update)

18 hours ago

Riot police and soldiers acting on their president's orders used scrap wood and barbed wire to seal off 50,000 people inside their Liberian slum Wednesday, trying to contain the Ebola outbreak that has killed ...

User comments