The Spiny Mouse (Acomys Cahirinus) Completes Nephrogenesis Before Birth

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2005 Aug;289(2):F273-9. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00400.2004. Epub 2005 Mar 1.


The spiny mouse is relatively mature at birth. We hypothesized that like other organs, the kidney may be more developed in the spiny mouse at birth, than in other rodents. If nephrogenesis is complete before birth, the spiny mouse may provide an excellent model with which to study the effects of an altered intrauterine environment on renal development. Due to its desert adaptation, the spiny mouse may have a reduced cortex-to-medulla ratio but an equivalent total nephron number to the C57/BL mouse. Kidneys were collected from fetal and neonatal spiny mice and sectioned for gross examination of metanephric development. Kidneys were collected from adult spiny mice (10 wk of age), and glomerular number, volume, and cortex-to-medulla ratios were determined using unbiased stereology. Nephrogenesis is complete in spiny mouse kidneys before birth. Metanephrogenesis begins at approximately day 18, and by day 38 of a 40-day gestation, the nephrogenic zone is no longer present. Spiny mice have a significantly (P < 0.001) lower total nephron number compared with C57/BL mice, although the total glomerular volume is similar. The cortex-to-medulla ratio of the spiny mouse is significantly (P < 0.01) smaller. The spiny mouse is the first rodent species shown to complete nephrogenesis before birth. This makes it an attractive candidate for the study of fetal and neonatal kidney development and function. The reduced total nephron number and cortex-to-medulla ratio in the spiny mouse may contribute to its ability to highly concentrate its urine under stressful conditions (i.e., dehydration).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Female
  • Kidney / anatomy & histology
  • Kidney / embryology*
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Kidney Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Kidney Cortex / embryology
  • Kidney Cortex / physiology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / anatomy & histology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / embryology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / physiology
  • Kidney Medulla / anatomy & histology
  • Kidney Medulla / embryology
  • Kidney Medulla / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muridae / embryology*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Pregnancy