Need A New Kidney? Let’s Regenerate One!

Under the correct conditions, kidney progenitor cells can be induced to produce more glomeruli and tubules, the building blocks of the kidney.

AsianScientist (Jun. 15, 2016) – Research into kidney regeneration, an organ that has been extremely difficult to regenerate, has taken a stride forward.

The study, published in Cell Reports and led by Kumamoto University Professor Ryuichi Nishinakamura’s research group in Japan, describes a method of increasing kidney progenitor cell proliferation in vitro.

Progenitor cells contribute to the formation of kidney tissues; specifically, they differentiate into the glomerulus, one of the most important elements of the kidney. However, kidney progenitor cells are lost before or soon after birth when kidney development is completed, which is one of the major reasons why the kidney cannot be regenerated. Furthermore, a large number of precursor cells are required for regenerative medicine, and the cells can only be kept for two to three days at most.

The researchers isolated kidney progenitor cells from mice and then attempted to determine the optimal culture conditions for them to produce glomeruli and tubules, the main functional components of the kidney.

In their experiments, the kidney progenitor cells grew up to 1,800 times the original amount of glomeruli and tubules over 20 days. In vivo, these cells disappear in about 10 days, but researchers using this method were able to retain them for twice that amount of time. Additionally, the increase in the total amount of cells was approximately 100 times the amount normally found inside the body.

“If cryo-preservation of these cultivated kidney progenitor cells is possible, we could omit the 14-day time span that is required between iPS cell induction and progenitor cell creation and ultimately be able to supply them as research material,” Nishinakamura said.

The article can be found at: Tanigawa et al. (2016) Selective In Vitro Propagation of Nephron Progenitors Derived from Embryos and Pluripotent Stem Cells.


Source: Kumamoto University; Photo: Shutterstock.
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