Researchers are using different strategies to reach a common goal of generating kidney organoids, 3-dimensional kidney-like tissue cultures, from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
One group from Australia’s University of Queensland has done so by identifying the signaling factors and conditions that regulate whether iPSCs form the collecting ducts or functional nephrons of the kidney (Takasato M et al. Nature. 2015;526:564-568). By optimizing the exposure of iPSCs to Wnt-mimicking drugs followed by exposure to fibroblast growth factor signals, the researchers produced organoids that contain nephrons associated with a collecting duct network as well as connective tissue and blood vessel progenitor cells like those that support nephrons in human embryos.
Hampton T. Kidney Organoids Grown From Stem Cells. JAMA. 2015;314(21):2226. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.15805