Embryogenesis of ureteral anomalies: a unifying theory

Aust N Z J Surg. 1988 Aug;58(8):631-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1988.tb07573.x.


Extensive gross, microscopic and clinical studies of various ureteral anomalies have enabled investigators to set forth theories regarding the aetiologies of these anomalies consistent with observed fact. Synthesis of these observations allows for a simplified classification of mega-ureter (primary obstructed, reflux and non-obstructed, non-reflux mega-ureters), ureterocele, duplex ureters and ectopic ureters based upon some combination of mesenchymal differentiation anomalies and location anomalies. A defect early in mesenchymal differentiation would be expected to result in panureteral disease. A defect later in development would result in a focal abnormality anywhere along the course of the ureter. Influence upon ureteral bud mesenchyme by local expansion factors in the bladder base may result in various types of ureterocele. Position of the ureteral orifice on the trigone or in Wolffian duct derivatives would occur in accordance with the Weigert-Meyer principle and would correlate with upper tract dysplasias. Thus, an attempt has been made to systematize and trace the origins of mega-ureter, ureterocele, duplex ureters and ectopic ureters to defects of differentiation of the basic mesoblastic cell in aberrant locations of the ureteral bud.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Humans
  • Ureter / abnormalities*
  • Ureteral Diseases / embryology*
  • Ureteral Obstruction / embryology
  • Ureterocele / embryology
  • Vesico-Ureteral Reflux / embryology