In recent years, a great deal has been learnt about the molecular regulation of kidney development. While most research has focused on the molecular regulation of ureteric branching morphogenesis and nephron formation, significant insights into the definition and functions of the renal stroma have emerged. Many molecules expressed in the developing renal stroma are now known to play significant regulatory roles in kidney development. However, the term 'renal stroma' continues to have different meanings to different researchers. This review clarifies this situation and defines the derivation, location and functions of the stroma in the developing metanephros.
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