Advances in fluorescence microscopy techniques to study kidney function

Suman Ranjit, Luca Lanzanò, Andrew E Libby, Enrico Gratton, Moshe Levi
Nature Reviews. Nephrology 2020 September 18
Fluorescence microscopy, in particular immunofluorescence microscopy, has been used extensively for the assessment of kidney function and pathology for both research and diagnostic purposes. The development of confocal microscopy in the 1950s enabled imaging of live cells and intravital imaging of the kidney; however, confocal microscopy is limited by its maximal spatial resolution and depth. More recent advances in fluorescence microscopy techniques have enabled increasingly detailed assessment of kidney structure and provided extraordinary insights into kidney function. For example, nanoscale precise imaging by rapid beam oscillation (nSPIRO) is a super-resolution microscopy technique that was originally developed for functional imaging of kidney microvilli and enables detection of dynamic physiological events in the kidney. A variety of techniques such as fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP), fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) enable assessment of interaction between proteins. The emergence of other super-resolution techniques, including super-resolution stimulated emission depletion (STED), photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM), stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM) and structured illumination microscopy (SIM), has enabled functional imaging of cellular and subcellular organelles at ≤50 nm resolution. The deep imaging via emission recovery (DIVER) detector allows deep, label-free and high-sensitivity imaging of second harmonics, enabling assessment of processes such as fibrosis, whereas fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) enables assessment of metabolic processes.

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