The histological appearance of the fetal kidney is significantly different from that of the adult kidney, mostly because it continues to develop almost until the end of gestation, when the formation of nephrons (nephrogenesis) comes to an end. A lack of familiarity with these differences may lead to mistakenly considering normal findings as pathologic ones, or to overlooking abnormalities of renal development, such as impaired nephrogenesis with a reduced number of nephrons (as seen in intrauterine growth restriction) or abnormal tubular differentiation (as seen in renal tubular dysgenesis). The aim of this chapter is to review the dramatic changes in renal development in the fetal and neonatal period and highlight the important differences at various gestational ages.
KeywordsKidney Fetal histology Nephrogenesis Metanephros
- 2.Potter EL. Normal and abnormal development of the kidney. Chicago: Year Book Medical; 1972.Google Scholar
- 3.O’Rahilly R, Müller F. Developmental stages in human embryos. Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution Of Washington; 1987.Google Scholar
- 7.Clapp WL, Croker BP. Kidney. In: Mills SE, editor. Histology for pathologists. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012. p. 891–970.Google Scholar