Clues to How Embryonic Kidney Maintains Stem Cell Pool

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine, working with a team of scientists in Paris, have identified two proteins, which are key to maintaining the stem cell pool and supporting growth during early kidney development. FGF9 and FGF20 are fibroblast growth factors, a family of proteins involved in embryonic development; the proliferation, migration and differentiation of many cells and tissues; as well as the growth of new blood vessels, tissue maintenance and wound healing. In lab experiments, FGF9 and FGF20 extended the life of mouse kidney stem cells. Continued research dedicated to growing and maintaining kidney stem cells may one day lead to the development of innovative treatments to repair damaged kidneys. Researcher Raphael Kopan, PhD said, “The holy grail would be to deliver these cells back to a diseased kidney. This is a very small step. But we hope this will be a stimulus to the field, for us and for others to continue thinking about how to convince these cells to stick around longer.”


Clues Found to Way Embryonic Kidney Maintains Its Fleeting Stem Cells, Science Daily, June 11, 2012

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