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Am J Pathol. 2005 Feb;166(2):545-55.

Isolation of renal progenitor cells from adult human kidney.

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Cattedra di Nefrologia, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Ospedale Maggiore S. Giovanni Battista, Corso Dogliotti 14, 10126 Turin, Italy.


We describe here isolation and characterization of CD133+ cells derived from normal adult human kidney. These cells lacked the expression of hematopoietic markers and expressed PAX-2, an embryonic renal marker, suggesting their renal origin. Renal tissue-derived CD133+ cells and clones of individual cells were capable of expansion and limited self-renewal and differentiated in vitro into epithelial or endothelial cells. On subcutaneous implantation in SCID mice, the undifferentiated cells formed tubular structures expressing renal epithelial markers. At variance, when differentiated in endothelial cells, these cells formed functional vessels. On intravenous injection in SCID mice with glycerol-induced tubulonecrosis, the in vitro expanded renal-derived CD133+ cells homed into the injured kidney and integrated in tubules. We propose that CD133+ cells from kidney represent a multipotent adult resident stem cell population that may contribute to the repair of renal injury.

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