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PloS one

Collective epithelial migration drives kidney repair after acute injury.


PMID 25010471

Abstract

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common and significant medical problem. Despite the kidney's remarkable regenerative capacity, the mortality rate for the AKI patients is high. Thus, there remains a need to better understand the cellular mechanisms of nephron repair in order to develop new strategies that would enhance the intrinsic ability of kidney tissue to regenerate. Here, using a novel, laser ablation-based, zebrafish model of AKI, we show that collective migration of kidney epithelial cells is a primary early response to acute injury. We also show that cell proliferation is a late response of regenerating kidney epithelia that follows cell migration during kidney repair. We propose a computational model that predicts this temporal relationship and suggests that cell stretch is a mechanical link between migration and proliferation, and present experimental evidence in support of this hypothesis. Overall, this study advances our understanding of kidney repair mechanisms by highlighting a primary role for collective cell migration, laying a foundation for new approaches to treatment of AKI.