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, 188 (1), 184-195

Nephrosphere-Derived Cells Are Induced to Multilineage Differentiation When Cultured on Human Decellularized Kidney Scaffolds

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Nephrosphere-Derived Cells Are Induced to Multilineage Differentiation When Cultured on Human Decellularized Kidney Scaffolds

Silvia Bombelli et al. Am J Pathol.

Abstract

In end-stage chronic kidney disease, the option of organ transplantation is limited because of the scarce availability of kidneys. The combination of stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and tissue engineering seems a promising approach to produce new transplantable kidneys. Currently, the possibility to repopulate naturally obtained scaffolds with cells of different sources is advancing. Our aim was to test, for the first time, whether the nephrosphere (NS) cells, composed by renal stem/progenitor-like cells, were able to repopulate different nephron portions of renal extracellular matrix scaffolds obtained after decellularization of human renal tissue slices. Our decellularization protocol enabled us to obtain a completely acellular renal scaffold while maintaining the extracellular matrix structure and composition in terms of collagen IV, laminin, and fibronectin. NS cells, cultured on decellularized renal scaffolds with basal medium, differentiated into proximal and distal tubules as well as endothelium, as highlighted by histology and by the specific expression of epithelial cytokeratin 8.18, proximal tubular CD10, distal tubular cytokeratin 7, and endothelial von Willebrand factor markers. Endothelial medium promoted the differentiation toward the endothelium, whereas epithelial medium promoted the differentiation toward the epithelium. NS cells seem to be a good tool for scaffold repopulation, paving the way for experimental investigations focused on whole-kidney reconstruction.

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