Nav: Home

Scientists create functioning kidney tissue

February 09, 2018

Scientists have successfully produced human kidney tissue within a living organism which is able to produce urine, a first for medical science.

The study led by Professors Sue Kimber and Adrian Woolf from The University of Manchester, signifies a significant milestone in the development of treatment for kidney disease.

The Medical Research Council and Kidney Research UK funded project is published in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

Kidney glomeruli - constituent microscopic parts of the organ- were generated from human embryonic stem cells grown in plastic laboratory culture dishes containing a nutrient broth known as culture medium, containing molecules to promote kidney development.

They were combined with a gel like substance, which acted as natural connective tissue - and then injected as a tiny clump under the skin of mice.

After three months, an examination of the tissue revealed that nephrons: the microscopic structural and functional units of the kidney - had formed.

The new structures contained most of the constituent parts present in human nephrons - including proximal tubules, distal tubules, Bowman's capsule and Loop of Henle.

Tiny human blood vessels - known as capillaries- had developed inside the mice which nourished the new kidney structures.

However, the mini-kidneys lack a large artery, and without that the organ's function will only be a fraction of normal.

So, the researchers are working with surgeons to put in an artery that will bring more blood the new kidney.

To test the functionality of the new structures, the team used Dextran - a fluorescent protein which stains the urine-like substance produced when nephrons filter the blood, called glomerular filtrate.

The Dextran was tracked and detected in the new structures' tubules, demonstrating that filtrate was indeed being produced and excreted as urine.

"We have proved beyond any doubt these structures function as kidney cells by filtering blood and producing urine - though we can't yet say what percentage of function exists," said Professor Kimber.

"What is particularly exciting is that the structures are made of human cells which developed an excellent capillary blood supply, becoming linked to the vasculature of the mouse.

"Though this structure was formed from several hundred glomeruli, and humans have about a million in their kidneys - this is clearly a major advance.

"It constitutes a proof of principle- but much work is yet to be done."

The University of Manchester's School of Biological Sciences and Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network (MaRM) as well as Kidneys for life have also supported the work.

Professor Woolf, who is also Consultant in Paediatric Nephrology at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Worldwide, two million people are being treated with dialysis or transplantation for kidney failure, and sadly another two million die each year, unable to access these treatments.

So we are tremendously excited by this discovery - we feel it is a big research milestone which may one day help patients.

"However, there is much more to learn: Building on our generation of kidney filtration units we must now turn to developing an exit route for the urine and a way to deliver this technology to diseased kidneys
-end-
The work was also helped by a small grant from the hospital's local kidney charity called "Kidneys for Life".

The team are the UK's only recipient of a three year Stoneygate Research award from Kidney Research UK.

The research will allow them to model kidney diseases using the new structures.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Professor Kimber and Woolf are available for comment

The paper 'Generation of functioning nephrons by implanting human pluripotent stem cell-derived kidney progenitors' is published in Stem Cell Reports and is available on request

Images are available.

For media enquiries contact:

Mike Addelman
Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
University of Manchester
0161 275 2111
07717 881567
michael.addelman@manchester.ac.uk

University of Manchester

Related Urine Articles:

Testing urine for particular proteins could be key to preventing kidney transplant failure
Testing for molecular markers in the urine of kidney transplant patients could reveal whether the transplant is failing and why, according to research presented at the 27th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
Low ammonium levels in urine may indicate serious risks for kidney disease patients
In patients with chronic kidney disease, low urine ammonium excretion identified individuals at high risk of kidney disease progression or death.
Urine metabolites may help predict which obese teens will develop diabetes
Researchers have discovered a unique metabolic 'signature' in the urine of diabetic, obese black teenagers that they say may become a way to predict the development of type 2 diabetes in people at risk.
Urine-based biomarkers for early cancer screening test
A new study, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, has introduced a new technique that validates urine-based biomarkers for early detection of cancer.
How to monitor urine in pools -- by testing sweetness
Even though Olympic swimmers have admitted doing it, peeing in the pool is not a condoned practice.
New urine test can quickly detect whether a person has a healthy diet
Scientists have developed a urine test that measures the health of a person's diet.
Protein in urine linked to increased risk of memory problems, dementia
People who have protein in their urine, which is a sign of kidney problems, may also be more likely to later develop problems with thinking and memory skills or even dementia, according to a meta-analysis published in the Dec.
Study identifies why some people can smell asparagus in urine
In The BMJ's Christmas edition this week, a study identifies the genetic origin of the ability to smell the strong, characteristic odor in human urine produced after eating asparagus.
Urine test for fatigue could help prevent accidents
Doctors, pilots, air traffic controllers and bus drivers have at least one thing in common -- if they're exhausted at work, they could be putting lives at risk.
Researchers reveal new test for cocaine in urine and oral fluid
Chemistry researchers develop a simple diagnostic test which can identify the level of cocaine in a person's urine or oral fluid.

Related Urine Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".