Pluripotent Stem Cells to Rebuild a Kidney: The Lymph Node as a Possible Developmental Niche

Cell Transplant. 2016;25(6):1007-23. doi: 10.3727/096368915X688632. Epub 2015 Jul 8.


Kidney disease poses a global challenge. Stem cell therapy may offer an alternative therapeutic approach to kidney transplantation, which is often hampered by the limited supply of donor organs. While specific surface antigen markers have yet to be identified for the analysis and purification of kidney stem/progenitor cells for research or clinical use, the reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotent cells and their differentiation into the various kidney lineages might represent a valuable strategy to create a renewable cell source for regenerative purposes. In this review, we first provide an overview of kidney development and explore current knowledge about the role of extra- and intrarenal cells in kidney repair and organogenesis. We then discuss recent advances in the 1) differentiation of rodent and human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into renal lineages; 2) generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from renal or nonrenal (kidney patient-derived) adult cells; 3) differentiation of iPSCs into renal lineages; and 4) direct transcriptional reprogramming of adult renal cells into kidney progenitor cells. Finally, we describe the lymph node as a potential three-dimensional (3D) in vivo environment for kidney organogenesis from pluripotent stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cellular Reprogramming / genetics
  • Humans
  • Kidney / cytology*
  • Kidney / embryology
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology*
  • Organogenesis / genetics
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cell Niche* / genetics