A Subpopulation of Label-Retaining Cells of the Kidney Papilla Regenerates Injured Kidney Medullary Tubules
Despite growing interest and effort, a consensus has yet to be reached in regards to the identification of adult renal stem cells. Organ complexity and low turnover of renal cells has made stem cell identification difficult and lead to the investigation of multiple possible populations. In this review, we summarize the work that has been done toward finding and characterizing an adult renal stem cell population. In addition to giving a general overview of what has been done, we aim to highlight the variation in methods and outcomes. The methods used to locate potential stem cell populations can vary widely, but even within the relatively standard practice of BrdU labeling of slowly dividing cells, there are significant differences in protocols and results. Additional diversity exists in cell marker profiles and apparent differentiation potential seen in potential stem cell sources. Cataloging the variety of methods and outcomes seen so far may help to streamline future investigation and stear the field toward consensus. But even without firmly defined populations, the application of renal stem cells holds tantalizing potential. Populations of highly proliferative, multipotent cells of renal origin show the ability to engraft in injured kidneys, mitigate functional loss and occasionally show the ability to generate nephrons de novo. The progress toward regenerative medicine applications is also summarized.