Lab studies show mini-kidney organoids reveal the secrets of renal disease

mini-kidney organoids

mini-kidney organoids

UW Medicine researchers create mini-kidney organoids that contain a realistic micro-anatomy. With this, researchers can track the early stages of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). The organoids grown from human stem cells. Polycystic kidney disease affects 12 million people around the world. Until recently, scientists unable to recreate the progression of this human disease in a laboratory setting.

Beforehand, we had shown that these organoids could form PKD cysts, but what’s new here is that we’ve used the model to understand something fundamental about that disease, said, Benjamin Freedman from UW School of Medicine.

The team found that PKD mini-kidneys grown in free-floating conditions formed hollow cysts. These crystals are very large and easily seen. In contrast, PKD mini-kidneys attached to plastic dishes stayed small.

polycystic kidney disease

According to Nelly Cruz, the lead author of the paper, the organoid also affects the progression of polycystic kidney disease.

Researchers discovered that polycystin proteins, which causes the disease, are sensitive to their micro-environment. Therefore, if we can change the way they interact or what they experience on the outside of the cell. We might able to change the course of the disease.

In another paper, Freedman and his team discusses how podocytes, which are specialized cells in the body that filter blood plasma to form urine, can generate and tracked in a lab environment.

Study of gene-edited human kidney organoids showed how podocytes form certain filtration barriers, called slit diaphragms. This might give the team insight into how to counter the effects of congenital gene mutations that can cause glomerulosclerosis, another common cause of kidney failure.

These two papers are examples of how medical scientists are making progress toward developing effective, personalized therapies for polycystic kidney disease and other kidney disorders.

The research tells outside environment of the kidney may be the key to curing the disease. This gives us a whole new interventional window.

More information: [nature materials]

Video: [Mini-kidney organoids]