Abstract 23: Foxd1+ Stromal Cells, the Required Progenitors for Kidney Vascular Development

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The mechanisms underlying the establishment, assembly and maintenance of the renal blood vessels are poorly understood. We have previously suggested using detailed lineage tracing that renal stromal cells, characterized by their early and transient expression of the transcription factor Foxd1, give rise to the entirety of the mural cell layer of the renal arterial tree and mesangial cells. Mural cells as defined here exclude endothelial cells, which we identified as having a separate precursor, the renal hemangioblast. To define whether Foxd1 cells are the required essential progenitor or whether their role as such could be assumed by other cell types, we used the cre-lox system to generate mice expressing diphtheria toxin subunit A in Foxd1+ cells (Foxd1-DTA mice) which resulted in animals with selective ablation of Foxd1+ cells. Kidneys from Foxd1-DTA embryos had a significantly reduced complement of arterial mural cells, lacking smooth muscle cells, perivascular fibroblasts, renin cells and mesangial cells. Interestingly, the few vessels that remained were also abnormal: they originated underneath the kidney capsule and elongated towards the center of the kidney rather than radiating outward from the center of the kidney. In addition, ablation of Foxd1 cells resulted in significantly delayed nephrogenesis and reduction in glomerular number. In conjunction with our previous data showing a similar phenotype upon global deletion of the Foxd1,gene, this illustrates the central role of Foxd1 and the cells that express it during early development. We conclude that Foxd1 stromal cells are the required progenitors for the establishment of the mural cells of the kidney arterioles and (via Foxd1 expression) for the proper origin and orientation of the kidney vessels.

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