The neonatal mouse kidney retains nephron progenitor cells in a nephrogenic zone for 3 days after birth. We evaluated whether de novo nephrogenesis can be induced postnatally beyond 3 days. Given the long-term implications of nephron number for kidney health, it would be useful to enhance nephrogenesis in the neonate. We induced nephron reduction by cryoinjury with or without contralateral nephrectomy during the neonatal period or after 1 week of age. There was no detectable compensatory de novo nephrogenesis, as determined by glomerular counting and lineage tracing. Contralateral nephrectomy resulted in additional adaptive healing, with little or no fibrosis, but did not also stimulate de novo nephrogenesis. In contrast, injury initiated at 1 week of age led to healing with fibrosis. Thus, despite the presence of progenitor cells and ongoing nephron maturation in the newborn mouse kidney, de novo nephrogenesis is not inducible by acute nephron reduction. This indicates that additional nephron progenitors cannot be recruited after birth despite partial renal ablation providing a reparative stimulus and suggests that nephron number in the mouse is predetermined at birth.
Florian Tögel, M. Todd Valerius, Benjamin S. Freedman, Rossella Iatrino, Mor Grinstein, Joseph V. Bonventre