20.3 The upper urinary tract: development of the metanephros

Ureter anlage and metanephric blastema: reciprocal induction


Quiz 21

The interaction between the ureter anlage (epithelial tissue) and the metanephric blastema (mesenchyma) is of decisive importance for renal development. The development of the kidneys represents a classical model of a sequential and reciprocal induction between epithelium and mesenchyma. For this reason it is frequently used for investigating the molecular cell mechanisms that play a role in the entire organogenesis.
Renal development comprises a whole series of developmental processes such as forming an epithelial tree structure, interactive tissue induction, differentiation, polarization, migration, cell adhesion and finally the epithelio-mesenchymal transformation.

During the genesis of the metanephros the metanephric blastema first induces the branching of the ureter anlage, which, for its part, then lets the metanephric vesicle form into a predetermined blastema. Through the transformation into epithelial tissue, the renal tubules form and finally the nephrons emerge. The most recent molecular-biologic research, mainly on transgenic mice, has shown that several factors are involved in this process. These various factors can be gone into only briefly in this chapter; those wishing to dig deeper can have a look at the cited references.

More info

Genes and their products that are important in the formation of the upper urinary tract.

Review articles

For those interested the following articles provide detailed information about the molecular aspects (6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

List of the chapters | Next page