Podocyte Regeneration Driven by Renal Progenitors Determines Glomerular Disease Remission and Can Be Pharmacologically Enhanced

Stem Cell Reports. 2015 Aug 11;5(2):248-63. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2015.07.003. Epub 2015 Jul 30.


Podocyte loss is a general mechanism of glomerular dysfunction that initiates and drives the progression of chronic kidney disease, which affects 10% of the world population. Here, we evaluate whether the regenerative response to podocyte injury influences chronic kidney disease outcome. In models of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis performed in inducible transgenic mice where podocytes are tagged, remission or progression of disease was determined by the amount of regenerated podocytes. When the same model was established in inducible transgenic mice where renal progenitors are tagged, the disease remitted if renal progenitors successfully differentiated into podocytes, while it persisted if differentiation was ineffective, resulting in glomerulosclerosis. Treatment with BIO, a GSK3s inhibitor, significantly increased disease remission by enhancing renal progenitor sensitivity to the differentiation effect of endogenous retinoic acid. These results establish renal progenitors as critical determinants of glomerular disease outcome and a pharmacological enhancement of their differentiation as a possible therapeutic strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • Indoles / therapeutic use
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oximes / pharmacology
  • Oximes / therapeutic use
  • Podocytes / cytology*
  • Podocytes / drug effects
  • Podocytes / metabolism
  • Regeneration*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / pathology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • 6-bromoindirubin-3'-oxime
  • Indoles
  • Oximes
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3