NDT-EDUCATIONAL

Human kidney progenitors isolated, offering new clues to cell renewal

In a first-of-its-kind look at human kidney development, researchers at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles have isolated human nephron progenitor (NP) cells. Their results, published online in the journal Stem Cell Translational Medicine, will help scientists understand how these progenitor cells become renal cells in the developing fetus, and possibly offer a future way to foster renal regeneration after chronic kidney failure or acute injury.

A key unit of the kidney, the nephron is a tiny structure that filters waste. In humans, about 500,000 to 1,000,000 nephrons are generated before week 34 to 36 of fetal gestation, a point at which NP cells are fully depleted and nephrogenesis ceases. The loss of a sufficient number of nephrons at any time after this period, leads to irreversible kidney failure, as no further cell repair or regeneration can occur.

 

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