Kidney organoids: a breakthrough model for kidney disease (2023)

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The kidney is responsible for regulating the fluid, electrolyte and pH balance in the human body through plasma filtration, reabsorption of essential nutrients and secretion of metabolic waste.94The kidney is made up of more than 20 different cell types that are necessary for its function of maintaining homeostasis. Although tubular cells have the ability to repair themselves after injury, repeated and/or severe kidney damage leads to irreversible damage to the kidney, resulting in renal dysfunction.21,94


The kidney functions as an important organ that maintains homeostasis of body fluid and electrolyte status through the efficient removal of metabolic waste products. Acute renal failure or progressive chronic kidney disease can lead to renal failure with severe systemic complications in patients who eventually need to undergo renal replacement therapies such as dialysis and transplantation, imposing a high socioeconomic burden on the healthcare system. conventional research


Conflicts of Interest: All authors have read the journal's policy on disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. J.A.L. and R.M. are co-inventors on patents (PCT/US2018/036677) assigned to the President and Fellows of Harvard College and Mass General Brigham. J.A.L. and R.M. are members of the Scientific Advisory Board of Trestle Biotherapeutics, which has licensed technology from its laboratories. J.A.L. is co-founder of AcousticaBio and serves as a scientific advisor to Autodesk, Azul3D,

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Featured Articles (6)

  • investigative article

    AKI modeling in vitro: taking organoids to the next level

    Kidney International, Band 102, Nummer 3, 2022, S. 465-468

  • investigative article

    iPSC-derived kidney organoids from patients demonstrate functional validation of a ciliopathic kidney phenotype and reveal underlying pathogenetic mechanisms

    The American Journal of Human Genetics, Band 102, Nummer 5, 2018, S. 816-8

    Despite the increasing diagnosis rate through genome sequencing, the genetic basis of more than 50% of hereditary kidney diseases remains unclear. Differentiated kidney organoids derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from individuals suffering from inherited kidney disease represent a potential but unvalidated platform for the functional validation of novel genetic variants and the study of underlying pathogenic mechanisms. In this study, the trio identified -Whole texome sequencing of a prospectively identified nephronophthisis subject (NPHP) and his parents composite heterozygous variants inIFT140, a gene previously associated with NPHP-related cillipathies.IFT140plays a key role in retrograde intraflagellar transport, however, the precise downstream cellular mechanisms responsible for disease presentation are still unknown. A one-step gene editing and reprogramming protocol was used to derive uncorrected proband iPSCs and isogenic gene-corrected iPSCs that differentiated into kidney organoids. Examination of organoid tubules revealed shortened and club-shaped primary cilia, while genetic correction rescued this phenotype. Analysis of differential expression of epithelial cells isolated from organoids suggested down-regulation of genes associated with apicobasal polarity, cell junctions, and dynein motor assembly in epithelial cell subjects. Matrigel cyst cultures confirmed a polarization defect in the renal epithelium compared to the genetically corrected renal epithelium. Thus, this study represents a proof of concept for the use of subject-derived iPSCs to model renal disease and illustrates dysfunctional cell pathways beyond the primary cilium in the context ofIFT140Mutations established for other NPHP genotypes.

  • investigative article

    Kidney organoids: a new tool for the development of renal therapeutics

    Kidney International, Band 94, Nummer 6, 2018, S. 1040-1042

    (Video) Professor Ben Humphries - How can we help the damaged kidney to regenerate? - Full version

    Kidney organoids derived from human pluripotent stem cells have the potential to greatly facilitate drug development. Borestromet al.have used CRISPR/Cas9 to generate renal fluorescent lineage markers for SIX2 and NPHS1 to monitor the differentiation process into tubular and glomerular structures and to optimize maturity. The convergence of "personalized" kidney organoids with genome editing and single-cell sequencing technology promises a better understanding of disease, better human cell disease models, more predictive toxicology, and potentially "clinical trials on the plate."

  • investigative article

    Kidney organoids derived from pluripotent stem cells: An in vitro technology similar to in vivo technology

    European Journal of Pharmacology, Band 790, 2016, S. 12-20

    Organoids are self-assembling multicellular structures containing multiple cell types that represent organ structure and function and can be used to model organ development, maintenance, and repair.ex-living. Organoids derived from embryonic stem cells (ESCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), or adult stem cells are cultured in extracellular matrix (ECM). Organoid cultures have been developed for several organs and for the kidney. Organoid technology derived from pluripotent stem cells (PSC) has advanced rapidly over the past three years. Here we review the available PSC differentiation protocols, focusing on pluripotent stem cells to initiate organoid culture and ECM and growth factors used to regulate differentiation and expansion. In addition, we will discuss reading strategies to assess organoid phenotype and function. Finally, we will indicate how the choice of culture parameters and reading strategy should be tailored to specific organoid culture applications.

    (Video) The 'why' and 'what' of 'kidney on a chip'

  • investigative article

    Higher-order kidney organogenesis from pluripotent stem cells

    Cell Stem Cell, Band 21, Nummer 6, 2017, S. 730-746.e6

    Organogenesis gives rise to higher-order structures that contain functional subunits, connecting components, and parental niches. Despite recent advances in organoid-based modeling of tissue development, recapitulating these complex configurations from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) remains a challenge. In this study, we report the arrangement of kidney organoids recapitulating embryonic branching morphogenesis. By examining the distinct origins and developmental processes of the ureteral bud, which contains epithelial renal progenitors that undergo branching morphogenesis and thus play a central role in orchestrating the geometry of renal organs and progenitors of adjacent mesenchymal nephrons, we have established a protocol for differential induction of each Lineage of mouse and human PSCs. Importantly, the reassembled organoids evolved the inherent architectures of the embryonic kidney, including the peripheral progenitor niche and internally differentiated nephrons interconnected by a branched ureteral epithelium. This selective induction and reassembly strategy will be a powerful approach to recapitulate the organotypic architecture in PSC-derived organoids.

  • investigative article

    Kidney organoids: a translational journey

    Trends in Molecular Medicine, Band 23, Ausgabe 3, 2017, S. 246-263

    Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are attractive sources for regenerative medicine and disease modellingin vitro. Targeted hPSC differentiation approaches were derived from the knowledge of cell developmentliveinstead of stochastic cell differentiation. In addition, there has been great success in generating 3D organ shoots, so-called “organoids”, from hPSCs; these consist of a variety of cell typesin vitromimic the organslive. The organoid has great potential for research into human vitro, especially in combination with CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing. We summarize the current literature on organoid studies with a special focus on kidney organoids and discuss future goals and possibilities of organoid-based studies.

    (Video) Milstein Lecture 2021 - Organoids to model human diseases - Hans Clevers
(Video) Developing Next Generation Renal Therapeutics with Human Kidney Organoids

© 2022 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Are there any new breakthroughs for kidney disease? ›

Biopharma Calliditas launches drug for immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy. An advancement in both kidney disease and rare disease research, a new drug was launched by Swedish biopharma Calliditas Therapeutics in January 2022 after receiving FDA approval in 2021 for the treatment of IgA nephropathy.

What is the new breakthrough treatment for CKD? ›

He says a new class of drugs, SGLT2 inhibitors, is being called a game changer. The drugs were originally designed to treat diabetes — a main cause of chronic kidney disease. Medicines in the SGLT2 inhibitor class include canagliflozin, dapagliflozin and empagliflozin.

What are the limitations of kidney organoids? ›

Another major limitation of kidney organoids is the lack of vascularization that precludes tissue growth and renal blood filtration function.

What is the new treatment for kidney failure 2023? ›

20 January 2023 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for Jardiance® (empagliflozin) tablets, which is being investigated as a potential treatment to reduce the risk of kidney disease progression and cardiovascular death in adults with chronic kidney ...

Is there anything that can reverse kidney disease? ›

While it's not possible to reverse kidney damage, you can take steps to slow it down. Taking prescribed medicine, being physically active, and eating well will help. You'll also feel better and improve your overall well-being.

Has anyone been cured of kidney disease? ›

There is no cure for kidney failure, but it is possible to live a long life with treatment.

Is there a miracle cure for CKD? ›

Treatment for kidneys often include dialysis or a kidney transplant. Some pharma companies also advertise various supplements for treating kidney problems. Contrary to the claims of the pharma companies, there is no miracle drug or supplement that will entirely heal the root cause of chronic renal disease.

When will artificial kidney be available? ›

Our goal is to have a device commercially available by the end of the decade (2030), but again this depends on our funding situation, and it is possible that unanticipated technical challenges could slow us down.

How do you reverse chronic kidney disease stage 4? ›

Stage 4 kidney disease cannot be reversed, but you can take steps to help slow disease progression. For people with CKD, it's critical to control any other underlying medical issues you may have, and prevent or treat CKD complications.

What are the pros and cons of using organoids? ›

Organoids offer superior morphology if you are studying a glandular tissue, but they are not appropriate for studying stratified tissues, such as skin. Originally organoid cultures were grown to investigate normal cellular differentiation in the prostate3 and breast.

Why are organoids better than cells? ›

Compared with immortalized cell lines, organoids are considered superior in recapitulating the 3D architecture, heterogeneity, and cell functions of the primary tissues and hence, are more physiologically relevant for modeling human diseases and predicting drug response.

Why are organoids better? ›

Organoids Recapitulate Cell-Cell Interactions

As such, they offer a unique opportunity to better understand the multicellular signaling networks and behaviors, whether tumor and stroma or host and pathogen, as they interact in the human body during disease71-74.

How can I reverse stage 3 kidney disease naturally? ›

While there is no way to reverse chronic kidney disease at stage 3, you can prevent disease progression by working with your nephrologist (kidney specialist) and the rest of your care team to properly manage the disease.

How can I reverse stage 2 kidney disease naturally? ›

Treatment for stage 2 kidney disease. Once kidney damage occurs, you can't reverse it. However, you can prevent further progression. This involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medications to help treat the underlying causes of stage 2 CKD.

What is the best long term solution for kidney failure? ›

The best long term solution for kidney failure (acute renal failure) is Kidney transplantation. A functioning kidney is used in transplantation from a donor preferably a close relative.

Can kidneys rebuild themselves? ›

A kidney is an organ with relatively low basal cellular regenerative potential. However, renal cells have a pronounced ability to proliferate after injury, which undermines that the kidney cells are able to regenerate under induced conditions.

Can your GFR go back up? ›

You may be able to improve your GFR somewhat by changing your lifestyle. Keep in mind that there's no cure for CKD. But healthy habits may slow the progression of the disease. Because diabetes and high blood pressure are the main causes of CKD, it's vital to keep both under control.

Can kidneys go back to normal? ›

The good news is that acute kidney failure can often be reversed. The kidneys usually start working again within several weeks to months after the underlying cause has been treated. Dialysis is needed until then.

What foods help repair kidneys? ›

10 Superfoods for People with Kidney Disease
  • Cabbage. With abundant phytochemicals, this cruciferous vegetable is filling and nutritious. ...
  • Red Peppers. Also low in potassium but high in flavor. ...
  • Cauliflower. ...
  • Blueberries. ...
  • Egg Whites. ...
  • Garlic. ...
  • Fish. ...
  • Red Grapes.

What is a normal GFR for a 70 year old? ›

Following the classical way, we can assert that normal GFR values are largely over 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 in healthy subjects, at least before the age of 70 years. However, we know that GFR physiologically decreases with age, and in adults older than 70 years, values below 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 could be considered normal.

How can I increase my GFR naturally? ›

Avoid processed foods and choose fresh fruits and vegetables instead. Follow a low-salt diet. Salt should be limited especially if you have high blood pressure, protein in your urine, or swelling, or difficulty breathing. Eating less than 2000 mg a day of sodium is recommended.

What herbs reverse kidney disease? ›

Amalaki, Haritaki and Bibhitak. The wonderful trio of rejuvenating herbs namely, Amalaki, Haritaki and Bibhitaki is nature's miracle remedy, it fortifies the kidney tissues, improved plasma proteins, albumin, creatinine, and enhances overall renal functioning.

How can I get rid of kidney disease naturally? ›

Following are some natural remedies that can help you take care of your kidneys.
  1. Stay hydrated. The most common reason for the formation of kidney problems is lack of water. ...
  2. Vitamin C. Vitamins and minerals are powerful antioxidants. ...
  3. Apples. ...
  4. Kidney beans. ...
  5. Lemon juice and honey. ...
  6. Watch blood pressure. ...
  7. Dates.
Dec 13, 2021

How can I fight kidney disease naturally? ›

What can I do to keep my kidneys healthy?
  1. Make healthy food choices. ...
  2. Make physical activity part of your routine. ...
  3. Aim for a healthy weight. ...
  4. Get enough sleep. ...
  5. Stop smoking. ...
  6. Limit alcohol intake link. ...
  7. Explore stress-reducing activities. ...
  8. Manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

How much is a new kidney in USA? ›

Consulting firm Milliman tallies the average costs of different organ transplants in the U.S. And while most are expensive—some are very expensive. A kidney transplant runs just over $400,000. The cost for the average heart transplant, on the other hand, can approach $1.4 million.

What is the new technology for kidney patients? ›

Artificial kidney designs featuring silicon membranes and human kidney cells may offer an efficient way to filter blood, while using the body's blood pressure instead of batteries or pumps. For people facing kidney failure, artificial kidneys have the potential to dramatically improve quality of life.

How much is a new kidney worth? ›

A kidney donor may be left with $1,000 to $10,000. The shortage of organs for transplant continues to grow, despite years of work to get more donors on board.

What is the lowest GFR you can live with? ›

85-90% of kidney function is gone. GFR falls below 15. Kidneys don't work well enough to keep you alive.

Can you live a long life with stage 4 kidney disease? ›

Is stage 4 kidney disease curable? Kidney disease is not curable, but there are treatments and actions you can take to help slow down the progression of kidney disease. The overall goal is to delay kidney failure for as long as possible. You can still live a long life with treatment and management of kidney disease.

How long can a 70 year old live with stage 4 kidney disease? ›

Five decades ago, a failed kidney meant death was likely. These days, things are quite a bit different. According to the National Kidney Foundation, the average life expectancy for a patient on dialysis is 5-10 years. Though for someone between the ages of 70 and 74, life expectancy is closer to four years on dialysis.

What is the problem with organoids? ›

Despite the promising features of organoids, their broad utility is tempered by a variety of limitations yet to be overcome, including lack of high-fidelity cell types, limited maturation, atypical physiology, and lack of arealization, features that may limit their reliability for certain applications.

What are the drawbacks of organoids? ›

One clear drawback of organoid systems is the lack of interorgan communication. Human organoid systems fundamentally mimic a part of the human body, not the entire body.

What is the lifespan of organoids? ›

Epithelial organoids have lifespans on the order of one week, which is often insufficient to robustly differentiate ASCs into the full set of differentiated cell types expected in vivo.

Can organoids replace organs? ›

Although patient-derived organoids exhibit substantial variability, they could eventually become useful for personalized medicine applications [9, 26]. A major prospect for organoids is their potential use as transplantable organs (Fig. ​ 2A).

How long do organoids take to grow? ›

Medium should be prewarmed at 24-26°C before use. We usually add 250 μL culture medium in a 48-well plate for initial plating. After 3-4 days of culture, we add more 250 μL culture medium (total 500 μL). You can observe the growth of organoids after ∼5 days.

What are the potential uses of organoids? ›

Organoids may be employed as a source of intestinal regenerative medicine by developing the organoid within a complex three-dimensional scaffold to supply functional tissues. Intestinal organoids may also be transplanted back into the body to undergo functional maturation.

What are organoids in kidney research? ›

Kidney organoids are miniature models derived from stem cells that closely mimic how the cells behave in the body. In particular, we have used these technologies to create kidney organoids to study podocyte function and investigate potential podocyte-targeting treatments.

What are kidney organoids? ›

Kidney organoids are in vitro kidney models that are generated from stem cells in three-dimensional (3D) cultures. They exhibit remarkable degree of similarities with the native tissue in terms of cell type, morphology, and function.

Are organoids really organs? ›

While organoids contain all the cell types of an organ, and a similar architecture to the organ of interest, they lack blood vessels, an immune system and a nervous system.

Can you live 20 years with stage 3 kidney disease? ›

When diagnosed and managed early, stage 3 CKD has a longer life expectancy than more advanced stages of kidney disease. Estimates can vary based on age and lifestyle. One such estimate says that the average life expectancy is 24 years in men who are 40, and 28 in women of the same age group.

Can you stay in stage 3 kidney disease forever? ›

Kidney disease often cannot be cured in Stage 3, and damage to your kidneys normally is not reversible. However, with treatment and healthy life changes, many people in Stage 3 do not move to Stage 4 or Stage 5, which is kidney failure.

Can Moringa reverse kidney damage? ›

Considered a medicinal plant for at least 5,000 years in India, moringa was recently found to possess the ability to protect SOD and CAT levels in the kidneys. One study using a model of acetaminophen toxicity found that moringa supplementation reversed both oxidative damage and inflammation in the kidneys.

What protein is easiest on kidneys? ›

15 Kidney-Friendly Protein Foods for Keeping Albumin Up
  1. Burgers. Made from turkey or lean beef, both of these protein sources give you iron to help prevent anemia. ...
  2. Chicken. Protein from chicken can range from 14 to 28 grams. ...
  3. Cottage cheese. ...
  4. Deviled eggs. ...
  5. Egg omelet. ...
  6. Egg whites. ...
  7. Fish. ...
  8. Greek yogurt.

How can I rebuild my kidney function? ›

9 Things Everyone Should Do:
  1. Exercise regularly.
  2. Control weight.
  3. Follow a balanced diet.
  4. Quit smoking.
  5. Drink only in moderation.
  6. Stay hydrated.
  7. Monitor cholesterol levels.
  8. Get an annual physical.

Is coffee bad for the kidneys? ›

Research has not shown that drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day increases the risk of kidney disease or increases the rate of decline of kidney function, however, moderating how much coffee you drink is a good idea. Those struggling with blood pressure control should especially drink less than three cups per day.

What is the new treatment for kidney failure? ›

He says a new class of drugs, SGLT2 inhibitors, is being called a game changer. The drugs were originally designed to treat diabetes — a main cause of chronic kidney disease. Medicines in the SGLT2 inhibitor class include canagliflozin, dapagliflozin and empagliflozin.

What is the new drug to prevent kidney failure? ›

Finerenone is FDA-approved1 for those with type 2 diabetes-associated kidney disease who have an eGFR above 25 and a urine-albumin creatinine ratio above 30. It may improve kidney and heart outcomes by preventing fibrosis or scarring of the kidneys.

What are two current treatments for kidney disease? ›

There are two treatment options for kidney failure: dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) and kidney transplantation. Talk with your family so you can decide which treatment will best fit your lifestyle needs.

Can kidneys regenerate health? ›

A kidney is an organ with relatively low basal cellular regenerative potential. However, renal cells have a pronounced ability to proliferate after injury, which undermines that the kidney cells are able to regenerate under induced conditions.

Is there any hope for CKD? ›

If untreated or diagnosed late, CKD leads to obliteration of kidney function and end-stage renal disease. At this point, kidney failure patients have two options: going onto dialysis, where the blood is filtered through an external circuit, or transplantation.

Can a GFR of 40 be reversed? ›

While it's possible to improve your GFR, you're more likely to do so with acute kidney injuries rather than with chronic kidney disease. For most people with chronic disease, positive lifestyle changes may help slow the loss of kidney function.

How can I improve my kidney function naturally? ›

What can I do to keep my kidneys healthy?
  1. Make healthy food choices. ...
  2. Make physical activity part of your routine. ...
  3. Aim for a healthy weight. ...
  4. Get enough sleep. ...
  5. Stop smoking. ...
  6. Limit alcohol intake link. ...
  7. Explore stress-reducing activities. ...
  8. Manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Can you slow down stage 3 kidney disease? ›

A stage 3 kidney disease diagnosis doesn't necessarily mean that your condition will progress to stage 4 or stage 5. With lifestyle changes and a treatment plan from your doctor, it's possible to slow the progression of CKD and preserve kidney function.

Will drinking water increase my GFR? ›

Water ingestion can acutely affect GFR, although not necessarily in the direction one might expect. Using 12 young, healthy individuals as their own controls, Anastasio et al. found increased water intake actually decreases GFR.

What meat is good for kidney disease? ›

Fresh or frozen red meats without breading, marinades or sauce are better choices for a kidney diet. On average, fresh meat contains 65 mg of phosphorus per ounce and 7 grams of protein per ounce. Seafood is an excellent source of low-fat, high-quality protein.

Can Apple cider vinegar lower creatinine level? ›

Apart from that, apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties as well. This may help keep bacteria at bay, and it may also help prevent your blood creatinine levels from rising.

Can a low GFR be reversed? ›

If the decrease in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is due to acute kidney injury with a sudden decrease in kidney function, this can commonly be reversed. If the kidney disease is due to chronic kidney disease (CKD), the recovery of eGFR is usually not possible.

Can you live 50 years with CKD? ›

Not all patients have serious issues with the early onset of kidney damage, and most of the patients with CKD may live long without any serious complications. It is estimated that an average person may live for an extra 30 years following diagnosis.

What not to do with CKD? ›

Don't eat ham, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, lunch meats, chicken tenders or nuggets, or regular canned soup. Only eat reduced-sodium soups that don't have potassium chloride as an ingredient (check the food label.) Also, only eat 1 cup, not the whole can.


1. "Organoids: What is the Science and What are the Clinical Applications?" -15 June, 2017
(International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR))
2. Hans Clevers (Hubrecht I., UU) 3: Organoid Technology for Disease Modeling
3. A Deeper Dive into the Most Promising Chronic Kidney Disease Treatments of the Future
4. 3D Organoid Cell Culture - Optimising disease models for research and drug discovery
(Drug Discovery World)
5. Benjamin Freedman--Freedman Lab, University of Washington--Growing Organoid Models for Studying t...
(Futuretech Podcast)
6. Why do we lack effective treatments for kidney failure and can stem cells help?


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