Pediatric Nephrology

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 175–180 | Cite as

Intrauterine growth retardation leads to a permanent nephron deficit in the rat

  • Claudie Merlet-Bénichou
  • Thierry Gilbert
  • Martine Muffat-Joly
  • Martine Lelièvre-Pégorier
  • Bruno Leroy
Original Article


Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by partial artery ligation of one uterine horn in the mother on day 17 of gestation or by feeding the mother a 5% protein diet from day 8 of gestation. The controls were pups of the contralateral uterine horn or pups born to mothers fed a normal (22%) protein diet. The number of nephrons present at birth and the final number of nephrons in 2-week-old rats were counted throughout the entire kidney. The number of nephrons present at birth and the final number of nephrons were significantly correlated with birth weight for growth-retarded rats of both groups and their corresponding controls (P<0.02 for the poorest correlation). Clearance experiments and morphometric studies of 2-week-old rats born to mothers with uterine artery ligation indicated that, despite a large compensatory hypertrophy of the nephrons in those animals born with a nephron deficit of about 30%, the overal renal function was impaired. We conclude that IUGR is accompanied by a nephron deficit which may not be fully compensated for within the first weeks after birth.

Key words

Intrauterine growth retardation Number of nephrons Renal function Compensatory hypertrophy 


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Copyright information

© IPNA 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudie Merlet-Bénichou
    • 1
  • Thierry Gilbert
    • 1
  • Martine Muffat-Joly
    • 1
  • Martine Lelièvre-Pégorier
    • 1
  • Bruno Leroy
    • 1
  1. 1.Unité de Recherches sur le Développement Normal et Pathologique des Fonctions Epithéliales, INSERM U. 319Université Paris 7ParisFrance

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