SALK INSTITUTE FOR BIOLOGICAL STUDIESMini-kidneys this week (November 17) joined a growing group of functional organ progenitors, or buds, when scientists from the U.S. and Spain described the differentiation of human stem cells into renal progenitor-like cells in Nature Cell Biology. Other groups had previously created liver buds and cerebral organoids using human stem cells.
Using a 3-D culture system in which differentiated human cells assembled with murine cells, Yun Xia from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, and colleagues generated uretic bud-like structures.
“Attempts to differentiate human stem cells into renal cells have had limited success,” study coauthor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte said in a statement. “We have developed a simple and efficient method that allows for the differentiation of human stem cells into well-organized 3D structures of the ureteric bud, which later develops into the collecting duct system.”
In their paper, the authors suggested that their kidney buds not only provide a new model for studying kidney disease, but also “open new avenues for the future application of regenerative strategies in the clinic.”