Abnormal postpartum renal development and cystogenesis in the bcl-2 (-/-) mouse

Christine M. Sorenson, Babu J. Padanilam, Marc R. Hammerman

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73 Scopus citations


Mice deficient for B cell leukemia/lymphoma gene 2 [bcl-2 (-/-) mice] manifest congenital renal hypoplasia and develop multicystic kidney disease and renal failure postnatally. To characterize postpartum renal development, to identify the cellular origin of the cysts, and to provide insight into the role that bcl-2 deficiency plays in the cystogenic process, we examined the morphology of kidneys from bcl-2 (-/-) mice and wild-type littermates [bcl-2 (+/+)] from birth (PO) to postpartum day 28 (P28), determined whether abnormalities of cellular proliferation and apoptosis accompany cyst development, and characterized expression of the bcl-2-related protein, bax. Between PO and P7, kidneys from bcl-2 (-/-) and bcl-2 (+/+) mice undergo a comparable increase in weight and have similar histological appearances. However, during the next 2 wk of life, weight gain in kidneys from bcl-2 (-/-) mice is reduced compared with that in kidneys from bcl-2 (+/+) animals, and cysts develop in tubules with staining characteristics of proximal tubule, distal tubule/medullary thick ascending limb of Henle's loop, and collecting duct. Unaffected glomeruli and proximal tubules in kidneys of bcl-2 (-/-) mice undergo compensatory growth. Cystogenesis is accompanied by enhanced incorporation of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine in cells within cortex and medulla and apoptosis of cells within cysts and in the renal interstitium. Bax protein is expressed in the distal tubule in kidneys of bcl-2 (+/+) and bcl-2 (-/-) mice and in some, but not all cysts. We conclude that abnormal regulation of DNA synthesis and apoptosis accompany cystogenesis in bcl-2 (-/-) mice during postpartum kidney development. Continued expression of bax could enhance apoptotic cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F184-F193
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Bax protein
  • Hypoplasia
  • Polycystic kidney disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)


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