Scientists Bioengineer Functioning Rat Kidneys

Regenerated rat kidney
Previously stripped-down rat kidney newly filled with endothelial cells

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have succeeded in growing bioengineered kidneys in the lab and implanting them into rats. To create the functioning organs, they began by using a detergent solution to strip rat kidneys of their existing cells. This resulted in a collagen scaffold, where a variety of cell types were delicately introduced to the appropriate areas within the kidney structure, and allowed to grow in conditions simulating that of a living body. The mature kidneys were then transplanted into rats, where they began producing urine right after implantation. Though they did not perform as well as healthy kidneys, the researchers believe that one day, this technique could be used to regenerate human kidneys, using a patient’s own cells and avoiding the need for harmful immunosuppressant drugs.

Photo credit: Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine


Implantable, Bioengineered Rat Kidney: Transplanted Organ Produces Urine, but Further Refinement is Needed, ScienceDaily, April 14, 2013

Video of Lab-Grown Functional Kidney Amazes, Renal Business Today, Kasia Michalik, April 17, 2013

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