BACKGROUND/AIMS: The PCK rat model of polycystic kidney disease is characterized by the progressive development of renal medullary cysts. Here, we evaluated the suitability of high resolution ultrasonography (HRU) to assess the kidney and cyst volume in PCK rats, testing three different ultrasound image analysis methods, and correlating them with kidneys weights and histological examinations.
METHODS: After inducing anesthesia, PCK rats (n=18) were subjected to HRU to visualize the kidneys, to perform numeric and volumetric measurements of the kidney and any cysts observed, and to generate 3-dimensional images of the cysts within the kidney parenchyma.
RESULTS: HRU provided superior information in comparison to microscopic analysis of stained kidney sections. HRU-based kidney volumes correlated strongly with kidney weights (R2=0.809; P<0.0001).
CONCLUSION: HRU represents a useful diagnostic tool for kidney and cyst volume measurements in PCK rats. Sequential HRU examinations may be useful to study the effect of drugs on cyst growth without the need to euthanize experimental animals.