AIM:Uteroplacental insufficiency in rats reduces nephron endowment, leptin concentrations and programmes cardiorenal disease in offspring. Cross-fostering growth-restricted (Restricted) offspring onto a mother with normal lactation restores leptin concentrations and nephron endowment. This study aimed to determine whether the reduced nephron endowment in Restricted offspring is due to delayed glomerular formation and dysregulation of renal genes regulating branching morphogenesis, apoptosis or leptin signalling. Furthermore, we aimed to investigate whether cross-fostering Restricted offspring onto Control mothers could improve glomerular maturation and restore renal gene abundance. METHODS:Uteroplacental insufficiency was induced by bilateral uterine vessel ligation (Restricted) or sham (Control) surgery on gestation day 18 (E18). Kidneys were collected at E20, postnatal day 1 (PN1) and PN7. An additional cohort was cross-fostered onto separate mothers at birth and kidneys collected at PN7. RESULTS:Kidneys were lighter in the Restricted group, but weight was restored with cross-fostering. At E20, abundance of Bax, Flt1 and Vegfa was increased in Restricted offspring, while Ret and Bcl2 transcripts were increased only in Restricted females. At PN7, abundance of Gdnf and Ret was higher in Restricted offspring, as was Casp3. Restricted offspring had a wider nephrogenic zone with more immature glomeruli suggesting a delayed or extended nephrogenic period. Cross-fostering had subtle effects on gene abundance and glomerular maturity. CONCLUSION:Uteroplacental insufficiency induced apoptosis in the developing kidney and delayed and extended nephrogenesis. Cross-fostering Restricted offspring onto Control mothers had beneficial effects on kidney growth and renal maturity, which may contribute to the restoration of nephron endowment.