In vitro generation of renal tubular epithelial cells from fibroblasts: implications for precision and regenerative medicine in nephrology

Kidney Int. 2017 Feb;91(2):265-267. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2016.12.003.


Prior efforts to generate renal epithelial cells in vitro have relied on pluripotent or bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. A recent publication in Nature Cell Biology describes the generation of induced tubular epithelial cells from fibroblasts, potentially offering a novel platform for personalized drug toxicity screening and in vitro disease modeling. This report serves as a promising proof of principle study and opens future research directions, including the optimization of the reprogramming process, efficient translation to adult human fibroblasts, and the generation of highly specific functional renal cell types.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Reprogramming
  • Cellular Reprogramming Techniques
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans
  • Kidney Tubules / cytology
  • Kidney Tubules / drug effects
  • Kidney Tubules / metabolism
  • Kidney Tubules / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Nephrology / methods*
  • Phenotype
  • Precision Medicine / methods*
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods*
  • Tissue Engineering*


  • Biomarkers