The renal stem cell system in kidney repair and regeneration

Franca Anglani, Monica Ceol, Federica Mezzabotta, Rossella Torregrossa, Emilia Tiralongo, Enrica Tosetto, Dorella Del Prete, Angela D'Angelo
Frontiers in Bioscience: a Journal and Virtual Library 2008, 13: 6395-405
The adult mammalian renal tubular epithelium exists in a relatively quiescent to slowly replicating state, but has great potential for regenerative morphogenesis following severe ischemic or toxic injury. Kidney regeneration and repair occur through three cellular and molecular mechanisms: differentiation of the somatic stem cells, recruitment of circulating stem cells and, more importantly, proliferation/dedifferentiation of mature cells. Dedifferentiation seems to represent a critical step for the recovery of tubular integrity. Dedifferentiation of tubular cells after injury is characterized by the reactivation of a mesenchymal program that is active during nephrogenesis. Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of renal tubular cells is an extreme manifestation of epithelial cell plasticity. It is now widely recognized as a fundamental process that marks some physiological, such as morphogenesis, as well as pathological events, such as oncogenesis and fibrogenesis. It might be also considered as a key event in the regenerative process of the kidney. Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in EMT might be useful for designing therapeutic strategies in order to potentiate the innate capacity of the kidney to regenerate.

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