Diabetic kidney disease continues to be the leading cause of chronic kidney disease, often advancing to end stage kidney disease. In addition to the well characterized glomerular alterations including mesangial expansion, podocyte injury, and glomerulosclerosis, tubulointerstitial fibrosis is also an important component of diabetic kidney injury. Similarly, tubulointerstitial fibrosis is a critical component of any chronic kidney injury. Therefore, sensitive and quantitative identification of tubulointerstitial fibrosis is critical for the assessment of long-term prognosis of kidney disease. Here, we employed phasor approach to fluorescence lifetime imaging, commonly known as FLIM, to understand tissue heterogeneity and calculate changes in the tissue autofluorescence lifetime signatures due to diabetic kidney disease. FLIM imaging was performed on cryostat sections of snap-frozen biopsy material of patients with diabetic nephropathy. There was an overall increase in phase lifetime (τphase) with increased disease severity. Multicomponent phasor analysis shows the distinctive differences between the different disease states. Thus, phasor autofluorescence lifetime imaging, which does not involve any staining, can be used to understand and evaluate the severity of kidney disease.
- tubulointerstitial fibrosis
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