Researchers have been finally able to induce stem cells to develop into functioning kidney tissue for the first time ever. Scientists first turned stem cells into kidney glomeruli, which are filtration components of a kidney. The cells were grown in a nutrient broth. They were then combined with a gel in order to hold the glomeruli together and form something like connective tissue in the kidney. These tissues were injected into mice whose immune system was repressed.
After 3 months and careful examination of the lumps, scientists observed some incredible development. These tiny capillaries had grown into tissue that could provide nutrients to the newly formed microstructures. Microscopic examination revealed that nephrons had grown including a lot of structures like Bowman's capsule and the Loop of Henle from proximal and distal tubules. The functionality of the tissue determined that the kidney was doing much of its job even though it lacked any arteries supplying it with blood to filter. The nephrons produced glomerular filtrate, which is the product that was produced before it is concentrated into urine and excreted. The function of the tissue will be limited because of the lack of blood supply to the artery. The scientists will always have to work on the exit route for the urine otherwise it would just build up in the tissue. This is just a single step to the journey of many. It does shapes up towards a proof of principle but a lot of work yet needs to be done.
By: Neha Maheshwari