Author(s): Danica Ryan, Anzari Atik, Robert De Matteo, Richard Harding, Mary J Black
A reduced nephron endowment early in life adversely impacts on long-term functional reserve in the kidney. A recent study has shown that acute exposure to chorioamnionitis during late gestation can adversely impact on nephrogenesis. The present study aimed to examine the effects of chronic, low-dose endotoxin exposure in utero, during the period of nephrogenesis, on nephron number and glomerular size in preterm lambs. Ewes were administered either endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide; 1 mg/day) or saline at 110-133 days of gestation (term approximately 147 days) via surgically implanted osmotic minipumps within the amniotic cavity. The ewes were induced to deliver preterm at 133 days gestation and the kidneys of the lambs were analysed at 8 weeks after term-equivalent age. Nephron number per kidney was determined using a combined optical disector and fractionator stereological approach; renal corpuscle size was also measured stereologically. At 8 weeks after term-equivalent age there was no significant effect of in utero exposure to endotoxin on bodyweight or kidney weight and there were no significant differences in nephron number, nephron density or renal corpuscle volume between groups. We conclude that chronic intrauterine inflammation during the period of nephrogenesis may not adversely impact on the number of nephrons formed within the kidney or on the volume of the renal corpuscle.