Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Clean-up Crew

3D cell model of the kidney's filtration units - the glomeruli – enables study of kidney disease and drug-screening

11 December 2021

Clean-up Crew

Your blood is filtered around 60 times a day to clear waste products. This is the job of filtering units in your kidneys called glomeruli, which are often damaged in kidney disease. Investigating glomeruli in the lab is challenging as current 2D models are too simplistic, while 3D models can't be easily scaled up for drug screening. Researchers now present a scalable 3D model, GlomSpheres, which are made using the extracellular matrix proteins, collagen IV and laminin, and the glomeruli cells, podocytes and glomerular endothelial cells (GEnCs). Fluorescence microscopy (pictured) revealed high levels of podocyte proteins (green) and GEnC proteins (red) were maintained in GlomSpheres, while electron microscopy revealed structures similar to those in kidneys. Incubating spheres with blood plasma from kidney disease patients caused podocyte loss, which was reduced by adding nintedanib, a drug used to treat kidney damage. GlomSpheres, therefore, hold promise as a model for kidney drug screening.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.