CROSS-CORRELATION ANALYSIS OF THE SPATIAL INTERACTIONS BETWEEN TISSUE COMPARTMENTS OF THE RENAL CORPUSCLE

Terry M Mayhew

Abstract

The renal corpuscle is a multi-compartment unit of kidney morphology which is important for normal ultrafiltration of blood. Its structure is perturbed during ontogeny, disease and experimental manipulation. Transmission electron microscopy and second-order stereological tools (cross covariance and cross correlation functions) were used to examine 3-D spatial interactions between the main tissue compartments (glomerular capillaries, podocytes, mesangium, urinary space) of the renal corpuscle in normal adult rats. Volume densities, covariance and correlation functions were estimated by counting test points (randomly positioned) and linear dipole probes (randomly positioned and orientated) superimposed on random samples of photomontages prepared from ultrathin resin sections. Differences in clustering exist between compartments (at distances < 8 μm, mesangium is the most tightly-clustered and capillaries the least tightly-clustered compartment; > 8 μm, compartments are neither hypodisperse nor hyperdisperse). Despite this, cross correlation functions for linked sets of compartments (capillary-mesangium, capillary-podocytes, capillary-urinary space, mesangium-podocytes, mesangium-urinary space and podocytes-urinary space) did not vary with dipole distance. This indicates that the spatial relations between linked compartments do not favour attraction or repulsion. In addition, inter-individual variation is greater for some linked compartments than others. Variation is less for compartments (capillary-podocyte and capillary-urinary space) which contribute to the ultrafiltration barrier and this probably reflects the structural and functional integration evident at this site as well as the higher volume densities (and smaller inter-subject variation) for capillaries.

Keywords
cross correlation function; mesangium; podocytes; renal glomerular capillaries; second-order stereology; spatial arrangement; urinary space

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DOI: 10.5566/ias.v21.p151-155

Image Analysis & Stereology
EISSN 1854-5165 (Electronic version)
ISSN 1580-3139 (Printed version)