Experimental hydronephrosis induced by partial ureteral obstruction at 3 wk of age causes hypertension and renal impairment in adult rats and mice. Signaling by Ephrin receptors (Eph) and their ligands (ephrins) importantly regulates embryonic development. Genetically modified mice, where the cytoplasmic domain of the EphA4 receptor has been substituted by enhanced green fluorescent protein (EphA4(gf/gf)), develop spontaneous hydronephrosis and provide a model for further studies of the disorder. The present study aimed to determine if animals with congenital hydronephrosis develop hypertension and renal injuries, similar to that of experimental hydronephrosis. Ultrasound and Doppler techniques were used to visualize renal impairment in the adult mice. Telemetric blood pressure measurements were performed in EphA4(gf/gf) mice and littermate controls (EphA4(+/+)) during normal (0.7% NaCl)- and high (4% NaCl)-sodium conditions. Renal excretion, renal plasma flow, and glomerular filtration were studied, and histology and morphology of the kidneys and ureters were performed. EphA4(gf/gf) mice developed variable degrees of hydronephrosis that correlated with their blood pressure level. In contrast to EphA4(+/+), the EphA4(gf/gf) mice displayed salt-sensitive hypertension, reduced urine concentrating ability, reduced renal plasma flow, and lower glomerular filtration rate. Kidneys from EphA4(gf/gf) mice showed increased renal injuries, as evidenced by fibrosis, inflammation, and glomerular and tubular changes. In conclusion, congenital hydronephrosis causes hypertension and renal damage, similar to that observed in experimentally induced hydronephrosis. This study further reinforces the supposed causal link between hydronephrosis and later development of hypertension in humans.
American Journal of Physiology: Renal Physiology, 2013, Vol 305, Issue 1