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

  • Luise A. Cullen-McEwen
  • James A. Armitage
  • Jens R. Nyengaard
  • John F. Bertram
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology™ book series (MIMB, volume 886)


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.

Key words

Nephron endowment Nephron number Kidney development Stereology Disector Metanephros 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luise A. Cullen-McEwen
    • 1
  • James A. Armitage
    • 1
  • Jens R. Nyengaard
    • 2
  • John F. Bertram
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Developmental BiologyMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Department of clinical medicine, Electrom Microscopy LaboratoryAarhus universityAarhus CDenmark

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