A bioartificial renal tubule device embedding human renal stem/progenitor cells

We present a bio-inspired renal microdevice that resembles the in vivo structure of a kidney proximal tubule. For the first time, a population of tubular adult renal stem/progenitor cells (ARPCs) was embedded into a microsystem to create a bioengineered renal tubule. These cells have both multipotent differentiation abilities and an extraordinary capacity for injured renal cell regeneration. Therefore, ARPCs may be considered a promising tool for promoting regenerative processes in the kidney to treat acute and chronic renal injury. Here ARPCs were grown to confluence and exposed to a laminar fluid shear stress into the chip, in order to induce a functional cell polarization. Exposing ARPCs to fluid shear stress in the chip led the aquaporin-2 transporter to localize at their apical region and the Na+K+ATPase pump at their basolateral portion, in contrast to statically cultured ARPCs. A recovery of urea and creatinine of (20±5)% and (13±5)%, respectively, was obtained by the device. The microengineered biochip here-proposed might be an innovative “lab-on-a-chip” platform to investigate in vitro ARPCs behaviour or to test drugs for therapeutic and toxicological responses.