Cell Biology and Toxicology

, Volume 12, Issue 4–6, pp 305–311 | Cite as

Rat metanephric organ culture in terato-embryology

  • C. Merlet-Bénichou
  • T. Gilbert
  • J. Vilar
  • E. Moreau
Plenary lectures Culture of renal cells


The development of the permanent mammalian kidney, or metanephros, depends on mesenchymal-epithelial interactions, leading to branching morphogenesis of the ureteric bud that forms the collecting ducts and to conversion of the metanephric mesenchyme into epithelium that forms the nephrons. Rat metanephric organ culture in which these interactions are maintained is a valuable in vitro model system for investigating normal and abnormal renal organogenesis. Methods were designed to evaluate either the capacity of the ureteric bud to branch or that of the mesenchyme to form nephrons. Both are based on specific staining of the ureteric bud and the glomeruli with lectins. Using this approach, we have shown that retinoids are potent stimulating factors of nephrogenesis, acting through an increase in the branching capacity of the ureteric bud. On the other hand, several drugs such as gentamicin and cyclosporin A were found to reduce the number of nephrons formed in vitro. While gentamicin affects the early branching pattern of the ureteric bud, cyclosporin may affect the capacity of the mesencyme to convert into epithelium. This methodology therefore appears a potentially useful tool for toxicological studies new drugs.


cyclosporin A gentamicin nephron deficit rat metanephric organ culture renal organogenesis retinoids 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Merlet-Bénichou
    • 1
  • T. Gilbert
    • 1
  • J. Vilar
    • 1
  • E. Moreau
    • 1
  1. 1.Unité de Recherches sur le Développement Normal et Pathologique des Fonctions Epithéliales INSERM U.319Université Paris 7 — Denis DiderotParisFrance

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