Lab-Grown Kidney Buds

Using human stem cells, investigators from the U.S. and Spain generate functional ureteric buds.

By | November 19, 2013

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.”

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