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Kidney Int. 1999 Oct;56(4):1423-31.

Re-expression of the developmental gene Pax-2 during experimental acute tubular necrosis in mice 1.

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Medizinische Poliklinik, Ludwig Maximilians Universität München, Germany.



The transcription factor Pax-2 is known to play a key regulatory role during embryonic development of the nervous and excretory systems in mammals and flies. During mouse kidney development, Pax-2 is expressed in the undifferentiated mesenchyme in response to ureter induction and continues to be expressed in the developing comma- and s-shaped bodies. These structures harbor the immediate precursors of the proximal tubular epithelial cells. Pax-2 expression is down-regulated as the differentiation of the functional units of the nephron proceeds. In the adult mammalian kidney, the Pax-2 protein is detectable exclusively in the epithelium of the collecting ducts. We sought to test the hypothesis that tissue regeneration is characterized by re-expression of developmentally important regulatory genes such as Pax-2.


The expression pattern of Pax-2 in kidneys after experimentally-induced acute tubular necrosis caused by intraperitoneally injected folic acid in mice was tested by indirect immunofluorescence, Western blotting, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and in situ hybridization analysis.


A transient, temporally and locally restricted re-expression of Pax-2 in regenerating proximal tubular epithelial cells was observed following kidney damage.


These data indicate that during the regeneration processes, developmental paradigms may be recapitulated in order to restore mature kidney function.

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