Free Newsletter
Register for our Free Newsletters
Newsletter
Zones
Advanced Composites
LeftNav
Aerospace
LeftNav
Amorphous Metal Structures
LeftNav
Analysis and Simulation
LeftNav
Asbestos and Substitutes
LeftNav
Associations, Research Organisations and Universities
LeftNav
Automation Equipment
LeftNav
Automotive
LeftNav
Biomaterials
LeftNav
Building Materials
LeftNav
Bulk Handling and Storage
LeftNav
CFCs and Substitutes
LeftNav
Company
LeftNav
Components
LeftNav
Consultancy
LeftNav
View All
Other Carouselweb publications
Carousel Web
Defense File
New Materials
Pro Health Zone
Pro Manufacturing Zone
Pro Security Zone
Web Lec
Pro Engineering Zone
 
 
 
News

Hidden aspects of kidney function are revealed in a new kind of MRI scan used at Weizmann Institute of Science

Weizmann Institute Of Science : 15 April, 2004  (Company News)
Kidney disease may affect as many as one in twelve people, and causes millions of deaths each year. Currently, the diagnosis of kidney function relies mainly on blood and urine tests, an indirect means of figuring out how well they're working.
Standard MRI scanners, used to view many organs of the body, do not always show the whole picture for kidneys. This is because the MRI equipment found in hospitals and clinics works by imaging water molecules in the body. But in water-logged kidneys, the image may not distinguish between different functional parts. Now, Prof. Hadassa Degani of the Biological Regulation Department and her lab team have found a way to see into the kidneys using magnetic resonance imaging that scans sodium ions rather than water.

Their method takes advantage of a unique feature of kidney function. Kidneys filter the blood and maintain steady levels of materials such as sodium and potassium in the bloodstream. To sustain control, these organs employ a gradient - a rising concentration of sodium from the outer layer, called the cortex, (where concentrations are around those of normal body tissues), towards the center, where levels reach up to five times the norm.

Prof. Degani, together with doctoral student Nimrod Maril and Raanan Margalit, was intrigued by a small number of MRI experiments that focus on sodium to attain images of various tissues, and wondered if the kidneys' sodium gradient could be imaged, and if so, what the image would reveal about kidney function. They enlisted the help of Dr. Joel Mispelter from the Institut Curie in France to help them build the special accessory needed to detect the sodium. Working at a high resolution allowed them to pick up the fine details of changing sodium concentration, particularly localized variations in the sodium gradient.

First the team imaged a healthy rat kidney, showing, for the first time, the shape of the sodium gradient as it rises in a smooth slope from the outer layers inward. Next, they continued their work on kidneys with altered function to see how effective a diagnostic tool the sodium imaging is. When the kidneys were treated with one of two commonly used diuretic drugs, which increase water out-flow, not only did they see the gradient flatten, but they were able to trace, in detail, the actions of each drug over time. Blocked kidneys showed disruptions in sodium patterns as well, and the team was able to identify sections of kidney that retained healthy functioning and could return to normal once the block was removed, as opposed to those that had permanent damage.

While todays' methods give estimates of kidney function in percentages, tomorrow's doctors, using this painless, non-invasive MRI technique, may be able to pinpoint exactly where a problem lies, reveal a disease before symptoms occur, or evaluate how a drug affects a patient. 'If we were able to see so much in a tiny rat kidney, think of how much more we can see in a human kidney,' says Degani. 'The method is so logical, it's a wonder it had not been applied before.'
Bookmark and Share
 
Home I Editor's Blog I News by Zone I News by Date I News by Category I Special Reports I Directory I Events I Advertise I Submit Your News I About Us I Guides
 
   © 2012 NewMaterials.com
Netgains Logo