Background: Experimental analysis of gene function is increasingly being accomplished using mouse models. Glomerular malformations occur in mice in which the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) B-chain gene or the PDGF receptor beta-subunit gene have been deleted. To understand potential PDGF signaling pathways in the kidney, we determined the expression pattern of PDGF ligand and receptor genes in mouse kidney during development and in the mature adult kidney.
Methods: We used in situ hybridization to map the expression of transcripts encoding the PDGF ligands (A-chain and B-chain) and PDGF receptors (PDGFRalpha and PDGFRbeta) in the developing and mature kidney of the mouse.
Results: PDGF A-chain transcripts are expressed by epithelial cells (especially in what appear to be the loop of Henle) and possibly in vascular smooth muscle cells. Its receptor, PDGFRalpha, is expressed by interstitial cells. PDGF B-chain transcripts are most highly expressed by vascular endothelial cells of developing and adult kidney and minimally by visceral epithelia of immature glomeruli. PDGFRbeta transcripts are expressed by fetal blastemal cells, interstitial cells, mesangial cells, and vascular smooth muscle cells and by adult mesangial and interstitial cells. PDGFRalpha and PDGFRbeta expression is especially prominent in lipid-laden interstitial cells in the adult kidney.
Conclusions: These patterns of expression are similar, but not identical, to those observed in rat and human and suggest that paracrine interactions mediated by the PDGF/PDGF receptor system may coordinate the development of the tubular, vascular, and interstitial components during kidney development and disease.