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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009 Feb;20(2):322-32. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2008070709. Epub 2008 Dec 17.

Regeneration of glomerular podocytes by human renal progenitors.

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Excellence Center for Research, Transfer and High Education Denothe, University of Florence, 50139, Firenze, Italy.


Depletion of podocytes, common to glomerular diseases in general, plays a role in the pathogenesis of glomerulosclerosis. Whether podocyte injury in adulthood can be repaired has not been established. Here, we demonstrate that in the adult human kidney, CD133+CD24+ cells consist of a hierarchical population of progenitors that are arranged in a precise sequence within Bowman's capsule and exhibit heterogeneous potential for differentiation and regeneration. Cells localized to the urinary pole that expressed CD133 and CD24, but not podocyte markers (CD133+CD24+PDX- cells), could regenerate both tubular cells and podocytes. In contrast, cells localized between the urinary pole and vascular pole that expressed both progenitor and podocytes markers (CD133+CD24+PDX+) could regenerate only podocytes. Finally, cells localized to the vascular pole did not exhibit progenitor markers, but displayed phenotypic features of differentiated podocytes (CD133-CD24-PDX+ cells). Injection of CD133+CD24+PDX- cells, but not CD133+CD24+PDX+ or CD133-CD24- cells, into mice with adriamycin-induced nephropathy reduced proteinuria and improved chronic glomerular damage, suggesting that CD133+CD24+PDX- cells could potentially treat glomerular disorders characterized by podocyte injury, proteinuria, and progressive glomerulosclerosis.

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