Stem cell researchers find key building block to make mini-kidneys

Updated:1 month, 1 week ago

New Delhi, June 20 (ANI): During recent research, a team of scientists at the Keck School of Medicine of USC created what could be a key building block for assembling a synthetic kidney. In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, Zhongwei Li and his colleagues describe how they can generate rudimentary kidney structures, known as organoids, that resemble the collecting duct system that helps maintain the body's fluid and pH balance by concentrating and transporting urine. Using the first mouse and then human UPCs, the scientists were able to develop cocktails of molecules that encourage the cells to form organoids resembling uretic buds -- the branching tubes that eventually give rise to the collecting duct system. The scientists also succeeded in finding a different cocktail to induce human stem cells to develop into ureteric bud organoids. An additional molecular cocktail pushed ureteric bud organoids -- grown from either mouse UPCs or human stem cells -- to reliably develop into even more mature and complex collecting duct organoids. The human and mouse ureteric bud organoids can also be genetically engineered to harbour mutations that cause disease in patients, providing better models for understanding kidney problems, as well as for screening potential therapeutic drugs. To explore this possibility, the scientists combined mouse ureteric bud organoids with a second population of mouse cells: the progenitor cells that form nephrons, which are the filtering units of the kidney.

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