Origins of the gonadal artery: embryologic implications.
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The gonadal arteries are paired vessels that usually originate from the abdominal aorta at the level of second lumbar vertebra. In 5-20% of cases, the gonadal artery has a high origin (superior to L2) and in 5-6% of cases it originates from the main or accessory renal artery. The latter is referred to here as an aberrant gonadal artery. Ninety-eight kidneys of 50 healthy potential renal transplant donors were prospectively studied by conventional angiography. The renal artery, either main or accessory, was detected and individually injected to highlight their perihilar divisions and possible extrarenal branches. The gonadal arteries were recorded if they originated from the renal arteries. We found that 39% (n = 38) of kidneys had at least one accessory renal artery. In 14 sides (14% of kidneys), the gonadal artery (11 right and 3 left) originated from the renal artery, either main (n = 5) or accessory (n = 9). Ten out of 14 kidneys with an aberrant gonadal artery had an associated accessory renal artery. In nine cases, the gonadal artery originated from the accessory renal artery, and in one case, although it originated from the main renal artery, the same kidney had an accessory arterial supply. The results of this study demonstrate that aberrant gonadal arteries tend to originate from kidneys that possess an accessory arterial supply. We hypothesize that aberrancies of the gonadal artery are a part of a common embryologic error resulting in the persistence of the future accessory renal arteries. We believe that this study is the first to hypothesize and study such an association with these arterial anomalies of the renal pedicle.