Background/aims: Renal senescence during normal aging is associated with specific vascular alterations and tissue degeneration. Although the degenerative program executed during embryonic kidney development is known to include vascular alterations, studies yet have to examine whether it involves replicative senescence. In this study, we assessed the potential of the quail mesonephros, a transitory embryonic kidney, as a model of human renal senescence.
Methods: Quail embryos with developing or degenerating mesonephros were studied on day 6 or day 11 of incubation, respectively. Senescence-associated beta-galactosidase activity, a marker of replicative senescence, was examined on whole mounts and sections. Senescent vascular characterization was performed by the scanning electron-microscopic analysis of vascular corrosion casts.
Results: Senescence-associated beta-galactosidase activity was found only in old mesonephros. Moreover, at 11 days of incubation glomerular capillaries showed discontinuities and were thinner and more tortuous than those observed at 6 days, characteristics also reported for the aging human kidney.
Conclusion: The degenerating quail mesonephros is a potential model of renal senescence, showing biochemical and morphological characteristics of the aging human kidney.