Kidney-in-a-lymph node: a novel organogenesis assay to model human renal development and test nephron progenitor cell fates.

Document Type


Publication Date



Molecular Medicine, MMCRI

Journal Title

Journal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.


Stem cell-derived organoids are emerging as sophisticated models for studying development and disease and as potential sources for developing organ substitutes. Unfortunately, although organoids containing renal structures have been generated from mouse and human pluripotent stem cells, there are still critical unanswered questions that are difficult to attain via in vitro systems, including whether these nonvascularized organoids have a stable and physiologically relevant phenotype or whether a suitable transplantation site for long-term in vivo studies can be identified. Even orthotopic engraftment of organoid cultures in the adult does not provide an environment conducive to vascularization and functional differentiation. Previously, we showed that the lymph node offers an alternative transplantation site where mouse metanephroi can differentiate into mature renal structures with excretory, homeostatic, and endocrine functions. Here, we show that the lymph node lends itself well as a niche to also grow human primary kidney rudiments and can additionally be viewed as a platform to interrogate emerging renal organoid cultures. Our study has a wide-ranging impact for tissue engineering approaches to rebuild functional tissues in vivo including-but not limited to-the kidney.