Thermal oscillations in rat kidneys: An infrared imaging study

Alexander M. Gorbach, Hengliang Wang, Eric Elster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A high-resolution infrared (IR) camera was used to assess rhythmicity in localized renal blood flow, including the extent of regions containing nephrons with spontaneous oscillations in their individual blood flow. The IR imaging was able to follow changes in rat renal perfusion during baseline conditions, during occlusion of the main renal artery and during the administration of either saline or papaverine. Concurrent recordings were made of tubular pressure in superficial nephrons. Spontaneous vascular oscillations centred around 0.02-0.05Hz and approximately 0.01Hz could be detected reproducibly by IR imaging. Their spectral characteristics and their response to papaverine were in line with tubular pressure measurements. The intensity of and synchrony between thermal signals from different local areas of the kidney may allow, after surgical exposure, non-invasive imaging of functional clusters involved in renal cortical blood flow. Through visualization of the spatial extent of thermal oscillations, IR imaging holds promise in assessing kidney autoregulatory mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3633-3647
Number of pages15
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1880
StatePublished - 13 Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoregulation
  • Blood flow
  • Infrared imaging
  • Synchrony
  • Thermal oscillations


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