Isolation and perfusion of rat inner medullary vasa recta

Kristen K. Evans, C. Michele Nawata, Thomas L. Pannabecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Outer medullary isolated descending vasa recta have proven to be experimentally tractable, and consequently much has been learned about outer medullary vasa recta  endothelial transport, pericyte contractile mechanisms, and tubulovascular interactions. In contrast, inner medullary vasa recta have neverbeen isolated from any species, and therefore isolated vasa recta function has never been subjected to in vitro quantitative evaluation. As we teased out inner medullary thin limbs of Henle’s loops from the Munich-Wistar rat, we found that vasa recta could be isolated using similar protocols. We isolated ~30 inner medullary vasa recta from 23 adult male Munich-Wistar rats and prepared them for brightfield or electron microscopy, gene expression analysis by RT-PCR, or isolated tubule microperfusion. Morphological characteristics include branching and nonbranching segments exhibiting a thin endothelium, axial surface filaments radiating outward giving vessels a hairy appearance, and attached interstitial cells. E ectron microscopy shows multiple cells, tight junctions, and either continuous or fenestrated endothelia. Isolated vasa recta express genes encoding the urea transporter UT-B and/or the fenestral protein PV-1, genes expressed in descending or ascending vasa recta, respectively. The transepithelial NaCl permeability (383.3 ± 60.0 × 10-5 cm/s, mean ± SE, n = 4) was determined in isolated perfused vasa recta. Future quantitative analyses of isolated inner medullary vasa recta should provide structural and functionaldetails important for more fully understanding fluid and solute flows through the inner medulla and their associated regulatory pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F300-F304
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 18 2015


  • Renal blood flow
  • Renal hemodynamics
  • Renal medulla

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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