The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 43: 453 - 456 (1999)

Vol 43, Issue 5

Special Issue: Nephrogenesis

Influence of fetal environment on kidney development

Published: 1 August 1999

C Merlet-Bénichou

Unité de Recherche sur le Développement Normal et Pathologique des Fonctions Epithéliales, INSERM U319, Université Paris 7-Denis Diderot, France.


Several lines of evidence, mostly derived from animal studies, indicate that changes in fetal environment may affect renal development. Besides maternal hyperglycemia or drug exposure, that were recently found to alter nephrogenesis, changes in vitamin A supply to the fetus may prove to be responsible for most of the variations in nephron number found in the population. A low vitamin A status in the fetus may be a major cause of inborn nephron deficit, either as a feature of intrauterine growth retardation or independently of growth retardation. The possibility that vitamin A status may also influence renal vascular development is raised. We suggest that low vitamin A supply to the fetus plays a role in the intrauterine programming of chronic renal disease and hypertension.

Full text in web format is not available for this article. Please download the PDF version.