A research group of Hiraku Tsujimoto, our senior researcher, and Professor Kenji Osafune, our Director and Chief Scientific Advisor, has developed technologies of the highly efficient induction of renal interstitial progenitor cells(1) from human iPS cells.
Using these technologies, a collaborative team with AstraZeneca and Center for iPS Cell Research and Application-Kyoto University reproduces kidney tissue in vitro aiming to use it in the development of therapeutic methods.
Through this joint research, we succeeded for the first time in creating kidney tissue containing a glomeruli(2) with a mesangial structure(3) in vitro.
Furthermore, we have generated renal erythropoietin-producing cells(4) and mesangial lineage cells from interstitial progenitor cells on a culture dish and elucidated important signals for their differentiation.
These achievements contribute new insights into the developmental biology of the human kidney, to the elucidation of the mechanisms of kidney diseases, and research aimed at the development of regenerative medicine for renal diseases.
The results of this research were published in “Cell Reports” on January 18, 2024.
Press Release from Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University:
Note (1) renal interstitial progenitor cells
Progenitor cells that can differentiate into stroma other than epithelium, such as podocyte of the glomeruli, renal tubules, and collecting ducts in kidney. Cells that make hormones such as erythropoietin, which is essential for making red blood cells in vivo, and renin, which regulates blood pressure, also differentiate from renal stromal progenitor cells.
Note (2) glomerulus
The tissues in the kidneys that filter blood and produce urine. It is called a glomeruli because the capillaries are curled up like threads.
Note (3) mesangial structure
The tissue that holds the capillaries together in the glomeruli. It plays an important role in glomerular function and pathophysiology of renal disease.
Note (4) erythropoietin-producing cells
Cells that produce erythropoietin, a hormone essential for making red blood cells. In addition to filtering blood and making urine, the kidneys also produce and secrete erythropoietin and renin, a hormone that regulates blood pressure.