An incomplete understanding of the biology of the human kidney, including the relative abundances of and interactions between intrinsic and immune cells, has long constrained the development of therapies for kidney disease. The small amount of tissue obtained by renal biopsy has previously limited the ability to use patient samples for discovery purposes. Imaging mass cytometry (IMC) is an ideal technology for quantitative interrogation of scarce samples, permitting concurrent analysis of more than 40 markers on a single tissue section. Using a validated panel of metal-conjugated antibodies designed to confer unique signatures on the structural and infiltrating cells comprising the human kidney, we performed simultaneous multiplexed imaging with IMC in 23 channels on 16 histopathologically normal human samples. We devised a machine-learning pipeline (Kidney-MAPPS) to perform single-cell segmentation, phenotyping, and quantification, thus creating a spatially preserved quantitative atlas of the normal human kidney. These data define selected baseline renal cell types, respective numbers, organization, and variability. We demonstrate the utility of IMC coupled to Kidney-MAPPS to qualitatively and quantitatively distinguish individual cell types and reveal expected as well as potentially novel abnormalities in diseased versus normal tissue. Our studies define a critical baseline data set for future quantitative analysis of human kidney disease.
Nikhil Singh, Zachary M. Avigan, Judith A. Kliegel, Brian M. Shuch, Ruth R. Montgomery, Gilbert W. Moeckel, Lloyd G. Cantley