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Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), backflow of urine into the kidney, is associated with urinary tract infections and chronic kidney disease. Integrity of the vesicoureteral junction (VUJ), where reflux occurs, is determined largely by proper induction of the ureteric bud from the Wolffian duct. Induction is modulated by signals from the surrounding peri-Wolffian duct stroma. We evaluated whether miRNAs in the peri-Wolffian duct stroma are necessary for proper ureteric induction, VUJ formation, and suppression of VUR. We generated a mouse with loss of miRNAs in the peri-Wolffian duct stroma. We evaluated embryos for ureteric bud induction defects and expression of genes that regulate induction. We performed cystograms to assess for reflux and assessed VUJs in postnatal mice. Mutant embryos had cranially displaced ureteric bud induction sites vs. controls. We observed no changes in expression of genes known to regulate induction. While mutants were early postnatal lethal, they had high rates of VUR vs. controls. Mutant VUJs that refluxed had low inserting ureters and shortened intravesicular tunnels vs. non-refluxing mice. We found that miRNAs in the peri-Wolffian duct stroma are required for normal ureteric bud induction, VUJ formation, and prevention of VUR.


Melissa J Anslow, Andrew J Bodnar, Débora M Cerqueira, Daniel Bushnell, Brynn E Shrom, Sunder Sims-Lucas, Carlton M Bates, Jacqueline Ho. Increased rates of vesicoureteral reflux in mice from deletion of Dicer in the peri-Wolffian duct stroma. Pediatric research. 2020 Sep;88(3):382-390

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PMID: 32015493

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