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The proximal tubules of the human kidney are responsible for reabsorbing approximately 100 litres of water, together with a variety of solutes, from the glomerular filtrate every single day. This process requires vast amounts of energy, which are generated by mitochondria. In this cross-sectional image of rat proximal tubules, taken using a multi-photon confocal microscope, mitochondria are stained with the dye TMRM. The high density of mitochondria in these cells is clearly evident, reflecting the adaptation of this section of tubule to its specialised role. Unfortunately, however, this high dependence on mitochondrial metabolism renders this region of the kidney particularly vulnerable to the effects of mitochondrial diseases.
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