Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Copycat Kidneys

Getting closer mimics of human organs in the lab by reducing cells not meant for the job

13 February 2020

Copycat Kidneys

When it comes to understanding how the human body copes with injury or disease, we often turn to mimics, be they animal models or collections of cells like organoids. Organoids — tissues grown artificially in dishes — are being improved on to mimic human organs in health and disease as closely as possible. Now researchers have grown human kidney organoids from human stem cells called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The team surveyed over 450,000 cells from 49 kidney organoids, examining the genes activated. Tagged using immunofluorescence, they also looked at the proteins present in each organoid (pictured). Different kidney cells were identified (red, green, blue) but cells unintended to form organoids, ‘off-target’ cells, were also detected. Transplanting the organoids into mouse kidneys considerably reduced the presence of off-target cells, resulting in better mimics of the human kidney. This brings us closer to developing a powerful model for human kidney research.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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