A spatially-averaged mathematical model of kidney branching morphogenesis

Zubkov, V. S., Combes, A. N., Short, K. M., Lefevre, J. G., Hamilton, N. A., Smyth, I. M., Little, M. H. and Byrne, H. M. (2015) A spatially-averaged mathematical model of kidney branching morphogenesis. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 379 24-37. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2015.04.015

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Author Zubkov, V. S.
Combes, A. N.
Short, K. M.
Lefevre, J. G.
Hamilton, N. A.
Smyth, I. M.
Little, M. H.
Byrne, H. M.
Title A spatially-averaged mathematical model of kidney branching morphogenesis
Journal name Journal of Theoretical Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1095-8541
Publication date 2015-08-21
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jtbi.2015.04.015
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 379
Start page 24
End page 37
Total pages 14
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Academic Press
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract Kidney development is initiated by the outgrowth of an epithelial ureteric bud into a population of mesenchymal cells. Reciprocal morphogenetic responses between these two populations generate a highly branched epithelial ureteric tree with the mesenchyme differentiating into nephrons, the functional units of the kidney. While we understand some of the mechanisms involved, current knowledge fails to explain the variability of organ sizes and nephron endowment in mice and humans. Here we present a spatially-averaged mathematical model of kidney morphogenesis in which the growth of the two key populations is described by a system of time-dependant ordinary differential equations. We assume that branching is symmetric and is invoked when the number of epithelial cells per tip reaches a threshold value. This process continues until the number of mesenchymal cells falls below a critical value that triggers cessation of branching. The mathematical model and its predictions are validated against experimentally quantified C57Bl6 mouse embryonic kidneys. Numerical simulations are performed to determine how the final number of branches changes as key system parameters are varied (such as the growth rate of tip cells, mesenchyme cells, or component cell population exit rate). Our results predict that the developing kidney responds differently to loss of cap and tip cells. They also indicate that the final number of kidney branches is less sensitive to changes in the growth rate of the ureteric tip cells than to changes in the growth rate of the mesenchymal cells. By inference, increasing the growth rate of mesenchymal cells should maximise branch number. Our model also provides a framework for predicting the branching outcome when ureteric tip or mesenchyme cells change behaviour in response to different genetic or environmental developmental stresses.
Keyword Organogenesis
Kidney development
Branching morphogenesis
Mathematical modeling
Uretetic tree
Cap mesenchyme
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
Institute for Molecular Bioscience - Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 19 May 2015, 10:18:31 EST by Susan Allen on behalf of Institute for Molecular Bioscience