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Kidney Int. 2005 Aug;68(2):504-14.

Epidermal growth factor potentiates renal cell death in hydronephrotic neonatal mice, but cell survival in rats.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.



Epidermal growth factor (EGF) markedly attenuates tubular apoptosis induced by unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) in the neonatal rat, and reduces apoptosis induced by mechanical stretch of cultured rat tubular cells.


To investigate the role of EGF in modulating apoptosis resulting from UUO, neonatal wild type and mutant mice lacking EGF (knockout), or with diminished EGF receptor activity (waved-2 mutant) were compared to control mice for tubular apoptosis and atrophy. Rat and mouse kidneys were compared for localization of the EGF receptor. Apoptosis was also measured in cultured mouse tubular cells subjected to stretch and exposed to EGF.


UUO reduced endogenous renal EGF expression in wild-type mice. Unlike the rat, exogenous EGF did not decrease tubular apoptosis or atrophy in the obstructed kidney, and significantly increased stretch-induced apoptosis of cultured mouse tubular cells. Tubular apoptosis was 50% lower in the obstructed kidney of EGF knockout and waved-2 mice relative to wild type and heterozygous animals. Exogenous EGF increased tubular apoptosis and doubled atrophy in the obstructed kidney of waved-2 mice. Species differences in EGF receptor localization were detected in 3-day-old kidneys.


EGF acts as a survival factor in the neonatal rat, but potentiates tubular cell death in the neonatal mouse. Species differences are maintained in cultured cells, suggesting that differences in EGF receptor signaling underlie these opposing effects.

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