Asynchronous mixing of kidney progenitor cells potentiates nephrogenesis in organoids

Ashwani K. Gupta, Prasenjit Sarkar, Xinchao Pan, Thomas Carroll and Leif Oxburgh

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Sep 12, 2019
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Received Date: 17th August 19

Recent years have seen rapid advances in directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) to kidney cells. However, a fundamental difficulty in emulating kidney tissue formation is that kidney development is iterative. Recent studies argue that the human nephron forms through gradual contribution of nephron progenitor cells whose differentiation fates depend on the time at which they are recruited. We show that the majority of PSC-derived nephron progenitor cells differentiated in a short wave in organoid formation and to improve fidelity of PSC-derived organoids, we emulated the asynchronous mix found in the fetal kidney by combining cells differentiated at different times in the same organoid. Asynchronous mixing promoted nephrogenesis, and lineage marking data showed that proximal and distal nephron components preferentially derive from cell populations differentiated at distinct times. When engrafted under the kidney capsule these heterochronic organoids were vascularized and displayed essential features of kidney tissue. Micro-CT and injection of a circulating vascular marker demonstrated that engrafted kidney tissue was connected to the systemic circulation by 2 weeks after engraftment. Proximal tubule glucose uptake was confirmed using intravenous injection of fluorescent dextran. Despite these promising measures of graft function, overgrowth of stromal cells prevented long-term study, and we propose that this is a technical feature of the engraftment procedure rather than a specific shortcoming of the directed differentiation because kidney organoids derived from primary cells and whole embryonic kidneys develop the same stromal overgrowth when engrafted under the kidney capsule.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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