Renal Precursor Cell Transplantation Using Biodegradable Polymer Scaffolds
End-stage renal disease is a fatal and devastating disease that is caused by progressive and irreversible loss of functioning nephrons in the kidney. Dialysis and renal transplantation are the common treatments at present, but these treatments have severe limitations. The present study investigated the possibility of reconstructing renal tissues by transplantation of renal precursor cells to replace the current treatments for end-stage renal disease. Embryonic renal precursor cells, freshly isolated from metanephroi of rat fetus at day 15 post-gestation, were seeded on biodegradable polymer scaffolds and transplanted into peritoneal cavities of athymic mice for three weeks. Histologic sections stained with hematoxylin & eosin and periodic acid-Schiff revealed the formation of primitive glomeruli, tubules, and blood vessels, suggesting the potential of embryonic renal precursor cells to reconstitute renal tissues. Immunohistochemical staining for proliferating cell nuclear antigen, a marker of proliferating cells, showed intensive nuclear expression in the regenerated renal structures, suggesting renal tissue reconstitution by transplanted embryonic renal precursor cells. This study demonstrates the reconstitution of renal tissue in vivo by transplanting renal precursor cells with biodegradable polymer scaffolds, which could be utilized as a new method for partial or full restoration of renal structure and function in the treatment of end-stage renal disease.
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