A group in the Mayo clinic and Glasgow have developed a fruit fly model of calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis. Fruit flies have a single transparent kidney tubule and feeding the larvae a diet high in oxalate for just two days leads to the formation of visible calcium oxalate kidney stones.
The upper panel of the image above shows a renal tubule dissected out from a fruit fly fed with oxalate compared with one fed with a normal diet. The second panel is a high power view of the tubule along with a nice picture of some calcium oxalate crystals. The lower 3 panels are a series of pictures of a tubule kept in a bath high in oxalate where you can see the crystals forming over a period of hours – the authors helpfully included a video if this happening in the supplemental data of the manuscript. There are also some micro-CT images of the fruit flies with the stones in situ. The rapid formation of stones in these flies makes it an excellent model for the study of nephrolithiasis.
Also, it’s really cool.