3D cell model of the kidney's filtration units - the glomeruli – enables study of kidney disease and drug-screening
Your blood is filtered around 60 times a day to clear waste products. This is the job of filtering units in your kidneys called glomeruli, which are often damaged in kidney disease. Investigating glomeruli in the lab is challenging as current 2D models are too simplistic, while 3D models can't be easily scaled up for drug screening. Researchers now present a scalable 3D model, GlomSpheres, which are made using the extracellular matrix proteins, collagen IV and laminin, and the glomeruli cells, podocytes and glomerular endothelial cells (GEnCs). Fluorescence microscopy (pictured) revealed high levels of podocyte proteins (green) and GEnC proteins (red) were maintained in GlomSpheres, while electron microscopy revealed structures similar to those in kidneys. Incubating spheres with blood plasma from kidney disease patients caused podocyte loss, which was reduced by adding nintedanib, a drug used to treat kidney damage. GlomSpheres, therefore, hold promise as a model for kidney drug screening.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.