Anatomy and Embryology

, Volume 174, Issue 2, pp 235–242 | Cite as

Peroxisomes in human foetal kidney: variations in size and number during development

  • Normand Brière


The kidneys of 15 human foetuses (10–18 weeks of age) were used for morphometric studies on peroxisomes during gestational development and in organ culture. The catalase positive organelles revealed by DAB were found to ovoid with a granular matrix delimited by a membrane occasionally deformed by marginal plates. Generally, the distribution was uniform in cells of proximal tubules. In the same cell, size and density varied. The number fluctuated from cell to cell. No significant difference in the mean diameter was observed from the 10th to 18th weeks of gestation, although the mean value (0.36±0.1 μm) was significantly less than the adult figure. These results indicate that size modifications might occur later on in gestation or after birth to reach the adult value. During the studied period, the mean number of peroxisomes per 100 μm2 of surface area did not differ significantly from that of the 10–12 week group (10.5±1.97). No important changes of peroxisome morphology in kidney explants cultured for 7 days were noticed on day 3–4. Thereafter, the shape of many peroxisomes became elongated or irregular; marginal plates were frequent. A decrease in the diameter of peroxisomes began at day 4, became significant on day 5 and more accentuated on day 7. In addition, as the culture matured, there was a progressive reduction in catalase activity, revealed by a diminished density of the peroxisomal matrix. The number of DAB positive organelles per surface area decreased steadily with culture age, and significantly on day 2 (p0.01) to become drastically low on day 5 and negligible on day 7. The present experiments provided for the first time basic quantitative data on peroxisomes of the foetal human nephron during gestational development and maturation in organ culture.

Key words

Human kidney Foetus Development Peroxisomes Organ culture 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Normand Brière
    • 1
  1. 1.Département d'Anatomie et de Biologie Cellulaire, Faculté de MédecineUniversité de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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