The human mesonephros is currently regarded as a simplified version of the foetal metanephros, primarily due to the close morphological resemblance between these two structures. The aim of the present study was to define whether human mesonephric and foetal metanephric nephrons share immunophenotypical traits in their corresponding structures (glomeruli, proximal and distal tubules). For this purpose we first investigated immunohistochemically the overall expression and topographical distribution of cytokeratins 7, 8, 18, 19, and 20, vimentin and α-smooth muscle actin in mature mesonephric nephrons and compared the results with those obtained in maturing-stage foetal metanephric nephrons. No expression of cytokeratins 7 and 20 was found. Cytokeratins 8, 18, and 19 and vimentin showed a restricted and basically coincident expression along the different components of both mesonephric and metanephric nephrons. These findings indicate that the intermediate filament protein profile of human mature mesonephric nephrons closely recapitulates that observed in developing metanephros and thereby strengthens the concept that human mesonephros, a transient ontogenic structure, is largely similar to the foetal metanephros. The sole difference between human mesonephros and foetal metanephros was the divergent expression of α-smooth muscle actin. This protein exhibited an increasingly accentuated mesangial expression paralleling the morphological maturation of metanephric glomerulus, whereas it was absent from the mesonephric one. This would suggest that the mesangial cells in these two renal structures have a different function during the foetal life.
Comparative immunohistochemical analysis of the expression of cytokeratins, vimentin and α-smooth muscle actin in human foetal mesonephros and metanephros / Magro, Gaetano; Perris, Roberto; Romeo, Rosa; Marcello, Maria; Lopes, Maria; Vasquez, Enrico; Grasso, Sebastiano. - In: HISTOCHEMICAL JOURNAL. - ISSN 0018-2214. - 33:4(2001), pp. 221-226. [10.1023/A:1017950425012]
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