Kyoto University researchers have for the first time successfully generated kidney tissue from induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells.
To accomplish it, the team led by Kenji Osafune, an associate professor at the university's Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, generated part of a urinary tubule using iPS cells that are capable of developing into all tissues of the body.
Kidneys have a complex structure and once damaged can be hard to restore, forcing many people with kidney problems to rely on dialysis.
The team's success is seen as the first step toward transplanting kidney tissue generated from iPS cells, according to The Japan Times Online.
By adding several substances to iPS cells, the Kyoto University team succeeded in generating intermediate mesoderm tissue, of which kidneys are largely composed, after 11 days of cultivation with a success rate of more than 90 percent.
They then cultivated the intermediate mesoderm with kidney cells from a mouse embryo to produce part of the structure of a urinary tubule.
The researchers concluded that the generated tissue was part of a tubule structure because it generated a protein called LTL, which is characteristic of urinary tubules.
It was also confirmed that other kidney cells such as glomerular podocytes and collecting tubule cells were generated.
The next step for the team is to confirm if the generated urinary tubule functions normally and they will also generate other kidney tissue in pursuit of clinical applications, Osafune noted.
Their work has been published in the online science journal Nature Communications. (ANI)