Roles for urothelium in normal and aberrant urinary tract development

Nat Rev Urol. 2020 Aug;17(8):459-468. doi: 10.1038/s41585-020-0348-2. Epub 2020 Jul 9.


Congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUTs) represent the leading cause of chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease in children. Increasing evidence points to critical roles for the urothelium in the developing urinary tract and in the genesis of CAKUTs. The involvement of the urothelium in patterning the urinary tract is supported by evidence that CAKUTs can arise as a result of abnormal urothelial development. Emerging evidence indicates that congenital urinary tract obstruction triggers urothelial remodelling that stabilizes the obstructed kidney and limits renal injury. Finally, the diagnostic potential of radiological findings and urinary biomarkers derived from the urothelium of patients with CAKUTs might aid their contribution to clinical care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Urinary Tract / abnormalities*
  • Urinary Tract / growth & development*
  • Urogenital Abnormalities / etiology*
  • Urothelium / physiology*
  • Vesico-Ureteral Reflux / etiology*

Supplementary concepts

  • Cakut