Streaming kidney

Cell Prolif. 1991 Jul;24(4):375-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2184.1991.tb01166.x.


Twenty-five male young adult random bred rats, weighing 250-300 g, were injected with 18.5 kBq/g body weight tritiated thymidine (specific activity 185 GBq/mM). The rats were then killed in groups of five, at the following times: 1 h and 14, 30, 60 and 120 days. The kidneys were processed histologically and dipped into liquid emulsion, exposed for 3 weeks and developed. Kinetic measurements were restricted to juxta-medullary glomeruli, their adjacent convoluted tubules and medullary tubuli. All other nephrons were ignored. The medullary pole of the juxta-medullary glomerulus served as reference point for all measurements and was referred to as the origin. The distance of a labelled cell from the origin was measured with an eye-piece micrometer and expressed in terms of two units: distance (microns) and cell location, defined as the number of cells separating a labelled cell from origin. Since only medullary nephrons were considered, these measurements represent distances directed toward the papilla. One hour after labelling, most cells were in the vicinity of the juxta-medullary glomerulus, not further than 800 microns from the origin in the direction of the papilla. During the following days labelled cells advanced toward the papilla at a daily velocity of 13.8 microns, covering 1.1 locations/day. Kinetically, the juxta-medullary nephron is a two-compartment cell renewal system. Its compartments, the progenitor (P) and the functional (Q), cover locations 0-80 and 81-150, respectively. The first feeds the second with cells. Morphologically, the progenitor compartment includes proximal and distal convoluted epithelia and a part of thick straight tubules. Other nephron portions belong to the Q-compartment. It is assumed that the nephrocyte is a part of a cell stream directed toward the papilla, which probably also includes stroma and vasculature.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Cell Division
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Juxtaglomerular Apparatus / cytology
  • Kidney / cytology*
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Kidney Cortex / cytology
  • Kidney Cortex / physiology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / cytology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / physiology
  • Kidney Medulla / cytology
  • Kidney Medulla / physiology
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Nephrons / cytology
  • Nephrons / physiology
  • Rats
  • Thymidine / metabolism*
  • Thymidine / pharmacokinetics
  • Tritium


  • Tritium
  • Thymidine