C-Kit(+) Cells Isolated from Developing Kidneys Are a Novel Population of Stem Cells with Regenerative Potential

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Rangel, Erika Bevilaqua [UNIFESP]
Gomes, Samirah Abreu [UNIFESP]
Dulce, Raul A.
Premer, Courtney
Rodrigues, Claudia O.
Kanashiro-Takeuchi, Rosimeire Miyuki [UNIFESP]
Oskouei, Behzad
Carvalho, Decio A.
Ruiz, Phillip
Reiser, Jochen
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The presence of tissue specific precursor cells is an emerging concept in organ formation and tissue homeostasis. Several progenitors are described in the kidneys. However, their identity as a true stem cell remains elusive. Here, we identify a neonatal kidney-derived c-kit(+) cell population that fulfills all of the criteria as a stem cell. These cells were found in the thick ascending limb of Henle's loop and exhibited clonogenicity, self-renewal, and multipotentiality with differentiation capacity into mesoderm and ectoderm progeny. Additionally, c-kit(+) cells formed spheres in nonadherent conditions when plated at clonal density and expressed markers of stem cells, progenitors, and differentiated cells. Ex vivo expanded c-kit(+) cells integrated into several compartments of the kidney, including tubules, vessels, and glomeruli, and contributed to functional and morphological improvement of the kidney following acute ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats. Together, these findings document a novel neonatal rat kidney c-kit(+) stem cell population that can be isolated, expanded, cloned, differentiated, and used for kidney repair following acute kidney injury. These cells have important biological and therapeutic implications. STEM Cells 2013;31:1644-1656
Stem Cells. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, v. 31, n. 8, p. 1644-1656, 2013.