Kidney Organoids and Tubuloids

Fjodor A. Yousef Yengej, Jitske Jansen, Maarten B. Rookmaaker, Marianne C. Verhaar and Hans Clevers

Published: 26/05/2020


In the past five years, pluripotent stem cell (PSC)-derived kidney organoids and adult stem or progenitor cell (ASC)-based kidney tubuloids have emerged as advanced in vitro models of kidney development, physiology, and disease. PSC-derived organoids mimic nephrogenesis. After differentiation towards the kidney precursor tissues ureteric bud and metanephric mesenchyme, their reciprocal interaction causes self-organization and patterning in vitro to generate nephron structures that resemble the fetal kidney. ASC tubuloids on the other hand recapitulate renewal and repair in the adult kidney tubule and give rise to long-term expandable and genetically stable cultures that consist of adult proximal tubule, loop of Henle, distal tubule, and collecting duct epithelium. Both organoid types hold great potential for: (1) studies of kidney physiology, (2) disease modeling, (3) high-throughput screening for drug efficacy and toxicity, and (4) regenerative medicine. Currently, organoids and tubuloids are successfully used to model hereditary, infectious, toxic, metabolic, and malignant kidney diseases and to screen for effective therapies. Furthermore, a tumor tubuloid biobank was established, which allows studies of pathogenic mutations and novel drug targets in a large group of patients. In this review, we discuss the nature of kidney organoids and tubuloids and their current and future applications in science and medicine.

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