Background: Human kidney organoids hold promise for studying development, disease modelling and drug screening. However, the utility of stem cell-derived kidney tissues will depend on how faithfully these replicate normal fetal development at the level of cellular identity and complexity.
Methods: Here, we present an integrated analysis of single cell datasets from human kidney organoids and human fetal kidney to assess similarities and differences between the component cell types.
Results: Clusters in the combined dataset contained cells from both organoid and fetal kidney with transcriptional congruence for key stromal, endothelial and nephron cell type-specific markers. Organoid enriched neural, glial and muscle progenitor populations were also evident. Major transcriptional differences between organoid and human tissue were likely related to technical artefacts. Cell type-specific comparisons revealed differences in stromal, endothelial and nephron progenitor cell types including expression of WNT2B in the human fetal kidney stroma.
Conclusions: This study supports the fidelity of kidney organoids as models of the developing kidney and affirms their potential in disease modelling and drug screening.
Keywords: Human kidney organoids; Induced pluripotent cells; Organoids; Single-cell RNA sequencing; Stem cell-derived models.