Department of Pathology Electron Microscopy Unit

Kidney and other Human Tissue Biopsies

Percutaneous needle biopsies have enabled the investigation of glomeruli for specific patterns of injury that can be correlated to clinical syndromes.

All kidney biopsies are processed for EM. Every sample is investigated by LM from 0.5 µm resin sections stained with methylene blue. Suitable areas with glomeruli are selected for further thin sectioning for EM. Diseases such as renal amyloidosis (amyloid deposits in mesangial areas which eventually obliterate the foot processes in the basement membrane) and thin membrane disease (reduced thickness of the glomerular capillary basement membrane) can only be identified by EM. Basement membrane thickness can be a key diagnostic feature for a number of renal diseases and is provided in the form of a table with minimum/maximum and average thicknesses from 50 measurements upon request from the pathologist in addition to micrographs. Cardiac, intestinal, pituitary, tumor and skin biopsies are also submitted for ultrastructural investigation occassionally to optimise patient treatment.

Ultrastructural features of kidney biopsies and other tissues.
Image of kidney thin membrane
Thin membrane
Image of lupus
Image of amyloid
Image of cardiac amyloid
Cardiac amyloid
Image of abdominal fat
Abdominal fat
Image of cadasil



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