The existence and identification of adult renal stem cells is a controversial issue. In this study, renal stem cells were identified from cultures of clonal human nephrospheres. The cultured nephrospheres exhibited the activation of stem cell pathways and contained cells at different levels of maturation. In each nephrosphere the presence of 1.12-1.25 cells mirroring stem cell properties was calculated. The nephrosphere cells were able to generate three-dimensional tubular structures in 3D cultures and in vivo. In clonal human nephrospheres a PKHhigh phenotype was isolated using PKH26 epifluorescence, which can identify quiescent cells within the nephrospheres. The PKHhigh cells, capable of self-renewal and of generating a differentiated epithelial, endothelial and podocytic progeny, can also survive in vivo maintaining the undifferentiated status. The PKHhigh status, together with a CD133+/CD24- phenotype, identified a homogeneous cell population displaying in vitro self-renewal and multipotency capacity. The resident adult renal stem cell population isolated from nephrospheres can be used for the study of mechanisms that regulate self-renewal and differentiation in adult renal tissue as well as in renal pathological conditions. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Bombelli, S., Zipeto, M. A., Torsello, B., Bovo, G., Di Stefano, V., Bugarin, C., … Perego, R. A. (2013). PKHhigh cells within clonal human nephrospheres provide a purified adult renal stem cell population. Stem Cell Research, 11(3), 1163–1177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scr.2013.08.004