We present a bio-inspired renal microdevice that resembles the in vivo structure of a kidney proximal tubule. For the first time, a population of tubular adult renal stem/progenitor cells (ARPCs) was embedded into a microsystem to create a bioengineered renal tubule. These cells have both multipotent differentiation abilities and an extraordinary capacity for injured renal cell regeneration. Therefore, ARPCs may be considered a promising tool for promoting regenerative processes in the kidney to treat acute and chronic renal injury. Here ARPCs were grown to confluence and exposed to a laminar fluid shear stress into the chip, in order to induce a functional cell polarization. Exposing ARPCs to fluid shear stress in the chip led the aquaporin-2 transporter to localize at their apical region and the Na+K+ATPase pump at their basolateral portion, in contrast to statically cultured ARPCs. A recovery of urea and creatinine of (20±5)% and (13±5)%, respectively, was obtained by the device. The microengineered biochip here-proposed might be an innovative “lab-on-a-chip” platform to investigate in vitro ARPCs behaviour or to test drugs for therapeutic and toxicological responses.
Sciancalepore, A. G., Sallustio, F., Girardo, S., Passione, L. G., Camposeo, A., Mele, E., ... Pisignano, D. (2014). A bioartificial renal tubule device embedding human renal stem/progenitor cells. PLoS ONE, 9(1), 1-11. [e87496]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0087496