Mouse embryonic stem cell-derived embryoid bodies generate progenitors that integrate long term into renal proximal tubules in vivo

Cécile Vigneau, Katalin Polgar, Gary Striker, Justine Elliott, Deborah Hyink, Odile Weber, Hans Joerg Fehling, Gordon Keller, Christopher Burrow, Patricia Wilson

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The metanephric kidney is a mesodermal organ that develops as a result of reciprocal interactions between the ureteric bud and the blastema. The generation of embryonic stem (ES) cell-derived progenitors offers potential for regenerative therapies but is often limited by development of tumor formation. Because brachyury (T) denotes mesoderm specification, a mouse ES cell line with green fluorescence protein (GFP) knocked into the functional T locus as well as lacZ in the ROSA26 locus (LacZ/T/GFP) was used in cell selection and lineage tracing. In the absence of leukemia inhibitory factor, mouse ES cells give rise to embryoid bodies that can differentiate into mesoderm. Culture conditions were optimized (4 d, 10 ng/ml Activin-A) to generate maximal numbers of renal progenitor populations identified by expression of the specific combination of renal markers cadherin-11, WT-1, Pax-2, and Wnt-4. LacZ/T/GFP+ cells were further enriched by FACS selection. Five days after injection of LacZ/T/GFP+ cells into embryonic kidney explants in organ culture, β-galactosidase immunohistochemistry showed incorporation into blastemal cells of the nephrogenic zone. After a single injection into developing live newborn mouse kidneys, co-localization studies showed that the LacZ/T/GFP+ cells were stably integrated into proximal tubules with normal morphology and normal polarization of alkaline phosphatase and aquaporin-1 for 7 mo, without teratoma formation. It is concluded that defined differentiation of ES cells into embryoid bodies with Activin-A and selection for T expression provides a means to isolate and purify renal proximal tubular progenitor cells with the potential for safe use in regenerative therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1709-1720
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


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