Background: A complex sequence of morphogenetic events leads to the development of the adult mouse kidney. In the present study, we investigated the morphological events that characterize the early stages of the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition of cap mesenchymal cells, analyzing in depth the relationship between cap mesenchymal induction and ureteric bud (UB) branching.
Design and methods: Normal kidneys of newborn non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice were excised and prepared for light and electron microscopic examination.
Results: Nephrogenesis was evident in the outer portion of the renal cortex of all examined samples. This process was mainly due to the interaction of two primordial derivatives, the ureteric bud and the metanephric mesenchyme. Early renal developmental stages were initially characterized by the formation of a continuous layer of condensed mesenchymal cells around the tips of the ureteric buds. These caps of mesenchymal cells affected the epithelial cells of the underlying ureteric bud, possibly inducing their growth and branching.
Conclusions: The present study provides morphological evidence of the reciprocal induction between the ureteric bud and the metanephric mesenchyme showing that the ureteric buds convert mesenchyme to epithelium that in turn stimulates the growth and the branching of the ureteric bud.