The developmental programme for genesis of the entire kidney is recapitulated in Wilms tumour

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© 2017 Fukuzawa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Wilms tumour (WT) is an embryonal tumour that recapitulates kidney development. The normal kidney is formed from two distinct embryological origins: the metanephric mesenchyme (MM) and the ureteric bud (UB). It is generally accepted that WT arises from precursor cells in the MM; however whether UB-equivalent structures participate in tumorigenesis is uncertain. To address the question of the involvement of UB, we assessed 55 Wilms tumours for the molecular features of MM and UB using gene expression profiling, immunohistochemsi-try and immunofluorescence. Expression profiling primarily based on the Genitourinary Molecular Anatomy Project data identified molecular signatures of the UB and collecting duct as well as those of the proximal and distal tubules in the triphasic histology group. We performed immunolabeling for fetal kidneys and WTs. We focused on a central epithelial blastema pattern which is the characteristic of triphasic histology characterized by UB-like epithelial structures surrounded by MM and MM-derived epithelial structures, evoking the induction/aggregation phase of the developing kidney. The UB-like epithelial structures and surrounding MM and epithelial structures resembling early glomerular epithelium, proximal and distal tubules showed similar expression patterns to those of the developing kidney. These observations indicate WTs can arise from a precursor cell capable of generating the entire kidney, such as the cells of the intermediate mesoderm from which both the MM and UB are derived. Moreover, this provides an explanation for the variable histological features of mesenchymal to epithelial differentiation seen in WT.




Fukuzawa, R., Anaka, M. R., Morison, I. M., & Reeve, A. E. (2017). The developmental programme for genesis of the entire kidney is recapitulated in Wilms tumour. PLoS ONE, 12(10).

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