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WT1 expression in the human fetus during development

R. Ambu, L. Vinci, C. Gerosa, D. Fanni, E. Obinu, A. Faa, V. Fanos
  • R. Ambu
    University of Cagliari, Italy
  • C. Gerosa
    University of Cagliari, Italy
  • D. Fanni
    University of Cagliari, Italy
  • E. Obinu
    University of Cagliari, Italy
  • A. Faa
    University of Cagliari, Italy
  • V. Fanos
    University of Cagliari, Italy


Wilms’ Tumor 1 (WT1) is a transcription factor involved in the development of the urogenital system. The purpose of this study was to analyze the immunoreactivity for WT1 protein in different tissues and organs in human fetuses in early phases of gestation. To this end, samples from multiple organs were obtained from 4 human fetuses, ranging from 7 up to 12 weeks of gestation. Each sample was formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded and immunostained for WT1. Our data show that WT1 is involved in development of multiple human organs in a more vast series of cells types than previously reported. Immunostaining for WT1 was characterized by a predominant cytoplasmic reactivity in the vast majority of cell types. Mesenchimal progenitors in the fetal lung, ductal plate progenitors in fetal liver, cap mesenchimal cells in the developing kidney, fetal zone cells in adrenal glands, atrial and ventricular cardiomyocytes in the fetal heart, radial glial cells in the fetal cerebral cortex and skeletal muscle cell precursors showed the highest levels of WT1 immunoreactivity. Future studies will be needed to detect differences in the expression of WT1 in various organs at different gestational ages, in order to better evaluate the role of WT1 in cell proliferation and differentiation during intrauterine human development.


Wilms' tumor 1; WT1; human fetus; immunohistochemistry; human development; fetal stem cells.

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Submitted: 2015-01-29 17:55:15
Published: 2015-06-29 14:30:50
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Copyright (c) 2015 R. Ambu, L. Vinci, C. Gerosa, D. Fanni, E. Obinu, A. Faa, V. Fanos

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