Stereological assessment of renal development in a baboon model of preterm birth

Megan Sutherland, Lina Gubhaju, Mary Black

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21 Citations (Scopus)


At the time when most preterm babies are delivered, nephrogenesis is still ongoing, with the majority of nephrons normally formed during the third trimester of pregnancy. The extrauterine environment, however, is suboptimal for organogenesis, and therefore renal development is likely to be adversely affected by preterm birth. In the long-term, there is emerging evidence of high blood pressure and renal dysfunction amongst young adults born preterm. There is little knowledge to date, however, regarding the effects of preterm birth on renal structural development, perhaps due to the lack of an appropriate animal model. We have demonstrated that the baboon (Papio sp.) has a similar time course of nephrogenesis as the human kidney, and the baboon neonate can also be cared for in the same manner as a human neonate following preterm birth. Through a series of studies assessing renal development in the baboon model of preterm birth, involving the use of gold-standard stereological techniques, we have demonstrated that nephron endowment in the preterm baboon kidney is not reduced. Furthermore, antenatal glucocorticoid exposure prior to preterm delivery was associated with an increase in mature nephrons. There was, however, evidence of morphological abnormalities in a variable percentage of the glomeruli formed ex utero. Further research is therefore essential in order to establish what factors are involved in contributing to the glomerular abnormalities, and to identify ways in which normal renal development can be conserved and optimised in the extrauterine setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25 - 33
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Nephrology
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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