The adult kidney has a remarkable ability to survive injury and restore function despite a limited turnover of cells under physiologic conditions. This accounts both for the tubular and to a lesser extent for the glomerular compartment. It is an ongoing debate whether renal repair is carried out by self-duplication/de-differentiation of mature resident renal cells, or by specialized renal progenitors residing in specific niches or by circulating bone marrow-derived stem cells. In this review, the existence of renal progenitor cells and their contribution for regeneration of the tubular and the glomerular compartment are discussed, highlighting landmark publications of recent years.
© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.