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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Mar 1;102(9):3296-300. Epub 2005 Feb 22.

Human mesenchymal stem cells in rodent whole-embryo culture are reprogrammed to contribute to kidney tissues.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Gene Therapy and Pediatrics, Institute of DNA Medicine, Jikei University School of Medicine, 3-25-8, Nishi-shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8461, Japan.


The use of stem cells has enabled the successful generation of simple organs. However, anatomically complicated organs such as the kidney have proven more refractory to stem-cell-based regenerative techniques. Given the limits of allogenic organ transplantation, an ultimate therapeutic solution is to establish self-organs from autologous stem cells and transplant them as syngrafts back into donor patients. To this end, we have striven to establish an in vitro organ factory to build up complex organ structures from autologous adult stem cells by using the kidney as a target organ. Cultivation of human mesenchymal stem cells in growing rodent embryos enables their differentiation within a spatially and temporally appropriate developmental milieu, facilitating the first step of nephrogenesis. We show that a combination of whole-embryo culture, followed by organ culture, encourages exogenous human mesenchymal stem cells to differentiate and contribute to functional complex structures of the new kidney.

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