Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Fake and Kidney

Getting closer to the real life complexity and architecture of the kidney in a lab-grown model

22 February 2022

Fake and Kidney

Organoids are lab-grown models of tissues and organs – they give researchers the chance to poke around in ways that are impossible in the real thing. Yet growing realistic organoids is a challenge. Here tissue engineers build a 3D kidney-oid, by mimicking how the stroma (structural tissue) guides functional tissue, the parenchyma, as it develops. Watching how real kidney stroma forms, the researchers programmed mouse embryonic stem cells to follow a similar path. Combining these with parenchymal cells destined to become different parts of the kidney helps this organoid to bloom with a complex architecture. A digitised image reveals parts of its lab-grown nephron (red, white and blue) together with ureteric buds (green) which, in real kidneys, syphon liquid towards the bladder. These kidney-oids may now be used to study kidney disease or to better understand how this vital organ cleans our blood.

Written by John Ankers

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