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Semin Nephrol. 2009 Jul;29(4):321-37. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2009.03.009.

Cell and molecular biology of kidney development.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics/Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 3415 Bainbridge Ave, Bronx, NY 10467, USA.

Abstract

Abnormalities of kidney and urinary tract development are the most common cause of end-stage kidney failure in childhood in the United States. Over the past 20 years, the advent of mutant and transgenic mice and the manipulation of gene expression in other animal models has resulted in major advances in identification of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that direct kidney morphogenesis, providing insights into the pathophysiology of renal and urologic anomalies. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms that define kidney progenitor cell populations, induce nephron formation within the metanephric mesenchyme, initiate and organize ureteric bud branching, and participate in terminal differentiation of the nephron. Highlighted are common signaling pathways that function at multiple stages during kidney development, including signaling via Wnts, bone morphogenic proteins, fibroblast growth factor, sonic hedgehog, RET/glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor, and notch pathways. Also emphasized are the roles of transcription factors Odd1, Eya1, Pax2, Lim1, and WT-1 in directing renal development. Areas requiring future investigation include the factors that modulate signaling pathways to provide temporal and site-specific effects. The evolution of our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of kidney development may provide methods for improved diagnosis of renal anomalies and, hopefully, targets for intervention for this common cause of childhood end-stage kidney disease.

PMID:
19615554
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2789488
Free PMC Article

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