Methods in Molecular Biology Volume 886, 2012, pp 109-119

Estimating Nephron Number in the Developing Kidney Using the Physical Disector/Fractionator Combination

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Abstract

Design-based stereology is considered the gold-standard method for estimating the total number of glomeruli, and thereby nephrons, in the adult kidney. However, until recently, a design-based method for estimating nephron number in the developing kidney was not available. For such a method to provide accurate and precise estimates, unambiguous identification of developing nephrons is essential. Here, we describe a combined histochemical/stereological technique for estimating total nephron number in the developing mouse and rat kidney. The method can be modified for use in other species.