Molecular events involved in the morphogenesis of multicystic dysplastic kidney

Urol Int. 2010;85(1):106-11. doi: 10.1159/000296285. Epub 2010 Mar 13.


Introduction: Wnt-1 is capable of inducing metanephric mesenchyme to undergo tubulogenesis. A relationship between the degree of cystogenesis and reduced E-cadherin (E-cad) expression was described. Syndecan-1 (Sdc-1) has a critical role in kidney development.

Materials and methods: Ten multicystic dysplastic kidneys (MCDKs) were stained with hematoxylin and eosin and immunohistochemistry was performed using Wnt-1, E-cad and Sdc-1 antibodies. Eight unaffected kidneys were used as controls.

Results: Strong Wnt-1 immunostaining occurred inside cystic/tubular epithelial cells and in blastematous foci. An immunoreaction was observed in glomerular epithelial cells. In controls, just weak cytoplasmic Wnt-1 positivity was seen in tubular epithelial cells. E-cad reaction was negative in MCDKs while strong immunostaining was common in tubular cells of controls. A strong Sdc-1 immunoreaction depicted cystic, tubular and glomerular epithelial cells in MCDKs while Sdc-1 expression documented weak positivity in tubular epithelium alone.

Conclusions: Our data are in accordance with an involvement of Wnt-1 in normal nephrogenesis and with its role in altered epithelial differentiation of metanephric mesenchyme in MCDKs. Wnt-1 signal may function to suppress E-cad expression, a predisposing event for cystogenesis. High expression of Sdc-1 in tubular/cystic epithelial cells of MCDKs might alter the normal transition of stages of the developmental process and modify the anion charge of the glomerular barrier.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD
  • Cadherins / analysis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infant
  • Kidney / chemistry*
  • Kidney / embryology
  • Kidney / growth & development
  • Morphogenesis
  • Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney / embryology
  • Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Syndecan-1 / analysis
  • Wnt1 Protein / analysis


  • Antigens, CD
  • CDH1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • SDC1 protein, human
  • Syndecan-1
  • WNT1 protein, human
  • Wnt1 Protein