An improved kidney dissociation and reaggregation culture system results in nephrons arranged organotypically around a single collecting duct system.

PMID 21386662


Methods for constructing engineered "tissues" from simple suspensions of cells are valuable for investigations into basic developmental biology and for tissue engineering. We recently published a method for producing embryonic renal tissues from suspensions of embryonic mouse renal cells. This method reproduced the anatomies and differentiation states of nephrons and stroma very well; it had the limitation, however, that what would, in normal development, be a single, highly branched collecting duct tree leading to a ureter developed, in the engineered system, as a multitude of very small collecting duct trees. These were isolated from each other and therefore would not be effective for draining urine to a common exit, were the tissue to be supplied with blood and physiologically active. Here, we report an improvement on the original method; it results in the formation of nephrons arranged around one single collecting duct tree as would happen in a normal kidney.