Kyoto team generates kidney tissue from iPS cells

Kyodo

A research team at Kyoto University has succeeded in generating kidney tissue from induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, for the first time ever.

The accomplishment by the team led by Kenji Osafune, an associate professor at the university’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, was published Tuesday in the online science journal Nature Communications.

The team generated part of a urinary tubule using iPS cells that are capable of developing into all tissues of the body.

Kidneys have a complex structure and once damaged can be hard to restore, forcing many people with kidney problems to rely on dialysis.

The latest accomplishment is seen as the first step toward transplanting kidney tissue generated from iPS cells.

By adding several substances to iPS cells, the Kyoto University team succeeded in generating intermediate mesoderm tissue, of which kidneys are largely composed, after 11 days of cultivation with a success rate of more than 90 percent.

The team then cultivated the intermediate mesoderm with kidney cells from a mouse embryo to produce part of the structure of a urinary tubule.

The team concluded that the generated tissue was part of a tubule structure because it generated a protein called LTL, which is characteristic of urinary tubules.

It was also confirmed that other kidney cells such as glomerular podocytes and collecting tubule cells were generated.

Osafune said the team will confirm if the generated urinary tubule functions normally and will generate other kidney tissue in pursuit of clinical applications.