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Histol Histopathol. 2004 Oct;19(4):1301-10. doi: 10.14670/HH-19.1301.

Spatial expression of the kallikrein-kinin system during nephrogenesis.

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Tulane University Health Sciences Center, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Nephrology, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.


During nephrogenesis, new nephrons are induced in the periphery of the kidney, while maturing nephrons occupy a deeper position in the renal cortex. This centrifugal pattern of maturation is characterized by nephron patterning, establishment of proximal-distal segment identity, tubular and glomerular growth and differentiation, and acquisition of specialized functions. All of these processes are coordinated in time and space with renal vasculogenesis, glomerulogenesis and regional hemodynamic changes. The end-result ensures that tubular structure and function are tightly coordinated with glomerular filtration during normal kidney development. To achieve this delicate task of glomerulotubular balance, the developing kidney produces growth factors and vasoactive hormones that act in a paracrine manner to regulate nephrovascular growth, differentiation and physiological functions. One such paracrine system is the kallikrein-kinin system (KKS), which generates bradykinin (BK) from the cleavage of kininogen by kallikrein. BK activates a G-protein coupled receptor, B2R, to regulate renal blood flow and salt and water excretion. The developing kidney expresses an endogenous KKS. Expression of the KKS components and B2R is intimately coordinated with the terminal differentiation of the distal nephron. Kallikrein marks the onset of connecting tubule development, whereas kininogen and B2R map to the developing ureteric bud branches and maturing collecting ducts.Gene targeting studies indicate that the fetal KKS plays an important role in the maintenance of terminal epithelial cell differentiation.

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