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Impact of prenatal and postnatal maternal environment on nephron endowment, renal function and blood pressure in the Lewis polycystic kidney rat

  • A. Ding (a1), S. L. Walton (a2), K. M. Moritz (a2) (a3) and J. K. Phillips (a1)


Maternal insufficiency during fetal development can have long-lasting effects on the offspring, most notably on nephron endowment. In polycystic kidney disease (PKD), variability in severity of disease is observed and maternal environment may be a modifying factor. In this study, we first established that in a rodent model of PKD, the Lewis polycystic kidney (LPK) rat’s nephron numbers are 25% lower compared with wildtype animals. We then investigated the effects of prenatal and postnatal maternal environment on phenotype and nephron number. LPK pups born from and raised by homozygous LPK dams (control) were compared with LPK pups cross-fostered onto heterozygous LPK dams to improve postnatal environment; with LPK pups born from and raised by heterozygous LPK dams to improve both prenatal and postnatal environment and with LPK pups born from and raised by Wistar Kyoto-LPK heterozygous dams to improve both prenatal and postnatal environment on a different genetic background. Improvement in both prenatal and postnatal environment improved postnatal growth, renal function and reduced blood pressure, most notably in animals with different genetic background. Animals with improved postnatal environment only showed improved growth and blood pressure, but to a lesser extent. All intervention groups showed increased nephron number compared with control LPK. In summary, prenatal and postnatal environment had significant effect in delaying progression and reducing severity of PKD, including nephron endowment.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence:J. K. Phillips, Department of Biomedical Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia. E-mail:


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Impact of prenatal and postnatal maternal environment on nephron endowment, renal function and blood pressure in the Lewis polycystic kidney rat

  • A. Ding (a1), S. L. Walton (a2), K. M. Moritz (a2) (a3) and J. K. Phillips (a1)


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