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Indiana O'Brien Center for Advanced Renal Microscopy and Molecular Imaging

Intravital Microscopy Core

The Intravital Microscopy Resource Core provides renal researchers with access to the expertise and resources of the O’Brien Center to support intravital microscopy of the rat and mouse kidney.

The Intravital Microscopy Core works closely with investigators to identify how intravital microscopy can help their research and to design meaningful quantitative studies. Studies of mice and rats are conducted by animal surgeons and microscopists with over 20 years of experience in all aspects of intravital microscopy and quantitative image analysis. Experts of the core then help investigators interpret results and, as necessary, design follow-up studies.

Quantitative assays are frequently customized for specific research questions, but include measurements of parameters such as:

  • Microvascular flow
  • Microvascular leakage
  • Proximal tubule endocytosis
  • Mitochondrial function

Studies of glomerular function (e.g., glomerular permeability) can be conducted with either mice or rats, but also using Munich-Wistar-Fromter rats, whose superficial glomeruli are particularly suited to studies of the glomerulus. As these rats are no longer commercially available, the Intravital Microscopy Core maintains a colony to support studies conducted at the center, or to provide to other laboratories.

The core also provides training for investigators interested in implementing intravital microscopy at their home institution. Training can be provided individually, or through the four-day O’Brien Center Microscopy Workshop, which is held every two years.

View core publications

Core Director

portrait of pierre dagher

Pierre C. Dagher, MD

Bruce A. Molitoris Professor of Nephrology

(317) 278-2867 

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Zoomed 3D volume showing a large MW dextran (green), nuclei labeled with Hoecsht (cyan), a 3kDa Cascade Blue dextran given 24hrs prior (blue), and a 3kDa Texas Red dextran infused during imaging (red). The distal tubule (center) contains filtered Texas Red dextran in the tubular lumen.

Three-D volume of a glomerulus (center) showing the capillary loops outlined by a large MW dextran (green). The nuclei are labeled with Hoechst (cyan).

A three minute time series showing infusion and rapid filtration of a 3kDa Cascade Blue dextran into proximal tubular lumens. Note the appearance of the dextran within the lumens of two distal tubules (top and bottom) at the latter portion of the time series. The brighter intensity is due to water reabsorption along the nephron and increased concentration (and fluorescence) of the dextran in the lumen.