PloS one

A novel, low-volume method for organ culture of embryonic kidneys that allows development of cortico-medullary anatomical organization.

PMID 20479933


Here, we present a novel method for culturing kidneys in low volumes of medium that offers more organotypic development compared to conventional methods. Organ culture is a powerful technique for studying renal development. It recapitulates many aspects of early development very well, but the established techniques have some disadvantages: in particular, they require relatively large volumes (1-3 mls) of culture medium, which can make high-throughput screens expensive, they require porous (filter) substrates which are difficult to modify chemically, and the organs produced do not achieve good cortico-medullary zonation. Here, we present a technique of growing kidney rudiments in very low volumes of medium-around 85 microliters-using silicone chambers. In this system, kidneys grow directly on glass, grow larger than in conventional culture and develop a clear anatomical cortico-medullary zonation with extended loops of Henle.