The nephron is the functional unit of the kidney and is essential for the filtration of blood, water and electrolyte homeostasis and secretion of waste products into the urine. The number of
nephrons is decided before birth in humans and is highly variable. There is a clear correlation between nephron endowment and the risk to develop hypertension and Chronic Kidney Disease.
Many factors, such as maternal malnutrition, diabetes and smoking, as well as low birth weight have been shown to lead to reduced nephron numbers. We are investigating the role of epigenetic
modifiers during kidney development and the environmental factors involved in nephron differentiation.