Amylin as a growth factor during fetal and postnatal development of the rat kidney

Peter J. Wookey, Christos Tikellis, Michael Nobes, David Casley, Mark E. Cooper, Ian A. Darby

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We have previously reported that amylin has mitogenic actions on tubular epithelial cells isolated from mature rat kidney and cultured in vitro. In experiments using in situ hybridization, we have demonstrated that amylin mRNA can be detected transiently in rat metanephros from embryo day 17 (E17) to postnatal day 3 (PN3). These transcripts are localized in the sub- nephrogenic zone. RT-PCR was performed using oligonucleotide primers for rat amylin and mRNA extracted from fetal body (E19), PN1 and PN5 metanephrol, and adult rat kidney. These results corroborate the finding, using in situ hybridization, that there is a window of expression of rat amylin in the developing kidney in the perinatal period. During this period tubular elongation is evident and amylin peptide, detected by immunohistochemical staining is found associated with developing tubules. Some of these tubules also express a brush border glycoprotein, detected by immunohistochemical staining. Amylin acts as a mitogen with primary cultures of proximal tubular epithelial cells from PN4 renal cortex. An amylin antagonist inhibited this mitogenic action suggesting that this was mediated by amylin receptors as previously described. We suggest that amylin peptide is biosynthesized in the developing proximal tubules, acts in an autocrine fashion to promote the proliferation and differentiation of brush border epithelial cells and hence plays an important role as a growth factor in the development of the kidney.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalKidney International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Amylin
  • Fetal development
  • Growth factor
  • Metanephros

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