Imaging renal structures by X-ray phase-contrast microtomography

Jin Wu, Tohoru Takeda, Thet Thet Lwin, Atsushi Momose, Naoki Sunaguchi, Tadanori Fukami, Tetsuya Yuasa, Takao Akatsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


X-ray crystal interferometer-based X-ray phase-contrast microtomography (phase-contrast microtomography) is able to image microstructures within soft tissue without the use of a contrast agent. Here we determined the feasibility of using this technique in the non-destructive inspection of formalin-fixed kidney tissue from certain hamsters that spontaneously develop mesangial thickening with focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis, and from age-matched Syrian hamsters. We used a triple Laue-case X-ray interferometer with a 40 m-thick analyzer, a sample cell, and an X-ray charge-coupled-device camera with a 4.34 m pixel size. Images of glomeruli and tubular structures were similar to those seen using 40-100 × magnification on an optical microscope. In samples from two female glomerulosclerotic hamsters, seven scattered lesions were detected. The wedge-shaped pathological lesions included mild atrophic tubular walls, markedly dilated tubular lumen, high-density glomeruli, and widening of Bowman's space. The microvasculature was distinctly visualized in the specimens without any contrast agents. Hence, phase-contrast microtomography can detect small scattered lesions in diseased kidney tissue and is a powerful auxiliary tool for pre-histological evaluations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)945-951
Number of pages7
JournalKidney international
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2009 May
Externally publishedYes


  • APA hamster
  • Biomedical imaging
  • Glomerulus
  • Renal microstructures
  • X-ray phase-contrast microtomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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