Renal blood flow and oxygenation drive nephron progenitor differentiation.

Research paper by Christopher C Rymer, Jose J Paredes, Kimmo K Halt, Caitlin C Schaefer, John J Wiersch, Guangfeng G Zhang, Douglas D Potoka, Seppo S Vainio, George K GK Gittes, Carlton M CM Bates, Sunder S Sims-Lucas

Indexed on: 13 Jun '14Published on: 13 Jun '14Published in: American journal of physiology. Renal physiology


During kidney development, the vasculature develops via both angiogenesis (branching from major vessels) and vasculogenesis (de novo vessel formation). The formation and perfusion of renal blood vessels are vastly understudied. In the present study, we investigated the regulatory role of renal blood flow and O2 concentration on nephron progenitor differentiation during ontogeny. To elucidate the presence of blood flow, ultrasound-guided intracardiac microinjection was performed, and FITC-tagged tomato lectin was perfused through the embryo. Kidneys were costained for the vasculature, ureteric epithelium, nephron progenitors, and nephron structures. We also analyzed nephron differentiation in normoxia compared with hypoxia. At embryonic day 13.5 (E13.5), the major vascular branches were perfused; however, smaller-caliber peripheral vessels remained unperfused. By E15.5, peripheral vessels started to be perfused as well as glomeruli. While the interior kidney vessels were perfused, the peripheral vessels (nephrogenic zone) remained unperfused. Directly adjacent and internal to the nephrogenic zone, we found differentiated nephron structures surrounded and infiltrated by perfused vessels. Furthermore, we determined that at low O2 concentration, little nephron progenitor differentiation was observed; at higher O2 concentrations, more differentiation of the nephron progenitors was induced. The formation of the developing renal vessels occurs before the onset of blood flow. Furthermore, renal blood flow and oxygenation are critical for nephron progenitor differentiation.