Identification of Structural and Molecular Signatures Mediating Adaptive Changes in the Mouse Kidney in Response to Pregnancy.
Pregnancy is characterized by adaptations in the function of several maternal body systems that ensure the development of the fetus whilst maintaining health of the mother. The renal system is responsible for water and electrolyte balance, as well as waste removal. Thus, it is imperative that structural and functional changes occur in the kidney during pregnancy. However, our knowledge of the precise morphological and molecular mechanisms occurring in the kidney during pregnancy is still very limited. Here, we investigated the changes occurring in the mouse kidney during pregnancy by performing an integrated analysis involving histology, gene and protein expression assays, mass spectrometry profiling and bioinformatics. Data from non-pregnant and pregnant mice were used to identify critical signalling pathways mediating changes in the maternal kidneys. We observed an expansion of renal medulla due to proliferation and infiltration of interstitial cellular constituents, as well as alterations in the activity of key cellular signalling pathways (e.g., AKT, AMPK and MAPKs) and genes involved in cell growth/metabolism (e.g., Cdc6, Foxm1 and Rb1) in the kidneys during pregnancy. We also generated plasma and urine proteomic profiles, identifying unique proteins in pregnancy. These proteins could be used to monitor and study potential mechanisms of renal adaptations during pregnancy and disease.
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