Functional evaluation of primary renal cell/biomaterial neo-kidney augment prototypes for renal tissue engineering

Cell Transplant. 2011;20(11-12):1771-90. doi: 10.3727/096368911X566172. Epub 2011 Mar 24.


Development of a tissue-engineered neo-kidney augment (NKA) requires evaluation of defined, therapeutically relevant cell and cell/biomaterial composites (NKA constructs) for regenerative potential in mammalian kidney. Previous work identified primary renal cell populations that extended survival and improved renal function in a rodent model of chronic kidney disease (CKD). This study extends that work toward the goal of developing NKA by (i) screening in vivo inflammatory and fibrotic responses to acellular biomaterials delivered to healthy rodent renal parenchyma, (ii) evaluating the functionality of renal cell/biomaterial combinations in vitro, (iii) generating NKA constructs by combining therapeutically relevant cell populations with biocompatible biomaterial, and (iv) evaluating in vivo neokidney tissue development in response to NKA constructs delivered to healthy rodent renal parenchyma. Gelatin and hyaluronic acid (HA)-based hydrogels elicited the least inflammatory and fibrotic responses in renal parenchyma relative to polycaprolactone (PCL) and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) beads or particles and were associated with neovascularization and cellular infiltration by 4 weeks postimplantation. Renal cell populations seeded onto gelatin or HA-based hydrogels were viable and maintained a tubular epithelial functional phenotype during an in vitro maturation of 3 days as measured by transcriptomic, proteomic, secretomic, and confocal immunofluorescence assays. In vivo delivery of cell-seeded NKA constructs (bioactive renal cells + gelatin hydrogels) to healthy rodent renal parenchyma elicited neokidney tissue formation at 1 week postimplantation. To investigate a potential mechanism by which NKA constructs could impact a disease state, the effect of conditioned media on TGF-β signaling pathways related to tubulo-interstitial fibrosis associated with CKD progression was evaluated. Conditioned medium was observed to attenuate TGF-β-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in vitro in a human proximal tubular cell line (HK2).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dogs
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / drug effects
  • Gelatin / chemistry
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry
  • Kidney / cytology*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Lactic Acid / chemistry
  • Polyglycolic Acid / chemistry
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Proteome / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Tissue Engineering*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / pharmacology


  • Hydrogels
  • Proteome
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Gelatin