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Pediatr Nephrol. 2009 Sep;24(9):1611-9. doi: 10.1007/s00467-008-1048-y. Epub 2008 Dec 13.

Stimulatory and inhibitory signaling molecules that regulate renal branching morphogenesis.

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Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Branching morphogenesis, defined as the growth and branching of epithelial tubules, is a fundamental developmental process involved in the formation of a variety of mammalian tissues, including the kidney. Defective renal branching may result in a number of clinically relevant abnormalities, including renal agenesis, renal dysplasia, multiplex kidneys, and hypertension. In this review we describe the morphological events that generate the characteristic tree-like structure of the mammalian collecting system. We also highlight new knowledge related to both established and novel signaling systems that are important for stimulating and inhibiting branching morphogenesis.

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