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Concept: Renal pelvis


Recent studies have described that the Notch signaling pathway is activated in a wide range of renal diseases. Angiotensin II (AngII) plays a key role in the progression of kidney diseases. AngII contributes to renal fibrosis by upregulation of profibrotic factors, induction of epithelial mesenchymal transition and accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins. In cultured human tubular epithelial cells the Notch activation by transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) has been involved in epithelial mesenchymal transition. AngII mimics many profibrotic actions of TGF-β1. For these reasons, our aim was to investigate whether AngII could regulate the Notch/Jagged system in the kidney, and its potential role in AngII-induced responses. In cultured human tubular epithelial cells, TGF-β1, but not AngII, increased the Notch pathway-related gene expression, Jagged-1 synthesis, and caused nuclear translocation of the activated Notch. In podocytes and renal fibroblasts, AngII did not modulate the Notch pathway. In tubular epithelial cells, pharmacological Notch inhibition did not modify AngII-induced changes in epithelial mesenchymal markers, profibrotic factors and extracellular matrix proteins. Systemic infusion of AngII into rats for 2 weeks caused tubulointerstitial fibrosis, but did not upregulate renal expression of activated Notch-1 or Jagged-1, as observed in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Moreover, the Notch/Jagged system was not modulated by AngII type I receptor blockade in the model of unilateral ureteral obstruction in mice. These data clearly indicate that AngII does not regulate the Notch/Jagged signaling system in the kidney, in vivo and in vitro. Our findings showing that the Notch pathway is not involved in AngII-induced fibrosis could provide important information to understand the complex role of Notch system in the regulation of renal regeneration vs damage progression.

Concepts: Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Extracellular matrix, Blood pressure, Ureter, Renin-angiotensin system, Renal pelvis, Endocrine system


Renal proximal tubular epithelial cells play a central role in renal physiology and are among the cell types most sensitive to ischemia and xenobiotic nephrotoxicity. In order to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of kidney injuries, a stable and well-characterized primary culture model of proximal tubular cells is required. An existing model of proximal tubular cells is hampered by the cellular heterogeneity of kidney; a method based on cell sorting for specific markers must therefore be developed. In this study, we present a primary culture model based on the mechanical and enzymatic dissociation of healthy tissue obtained from nephrectomy specimens. Renal epithelial cells were sorted using co-labeling for CD10 and CD13, two renal proximal tubular epithelial markers, by flow cytometry. Their purity, phenotypic stability and functional properties were evaluated over several passages. Our results demonstrate that CD10/CD13 double-positive cells constitute a pure, functional and stable proximal tubular epithelial cell population that displays proximal tubule markers and epithelial characteristics over the long term, whereas cells positive for either CD10 or CD13 alone appear to be heterogeneous. In conclusion, this study describes a method for establishing a robust renal proximal tubular epithelial cell model suitable for further experimentation.

Concepts: Kidney, Cell biology, Nephron, Epithelium, Flow cytometry, Skin, Renal pelvis, Renal cortex


Three-dimensional models of kidney tissue that recapitulate human responses are needed for drug screening, disease modeling, and, ultimately, kidney organ engineering. Here, we report a bioprinting method for creating 3D human renal proximal tubules in vitro that are fully embedded within an extracellular matrix and housed in perfusable tissue chips, allowing them to be maintained for greater than two months. Their convoluted tubular architecture is circumscribed by proximal tubule epithelial cells and actively perfused through the open lumen. These engineered 3D proximal tubules on chip exhibit significantly enhanced epithelial morphology and functional properties relative to the same cells grown on 2D controls with or without perfusion. Upon introducing the nephrotoxin, Cyclosporine A, the epithelial barrier is disrupted in a dose-dependent manner. Our bioprinting method provides a new route for programmably fabricating advanced human kidney tissue models on demand.

Concepts: Kidney, Extracellular matrix, Nephron, Basement membrane, Organ, Skin, Renal pelvis, Nephrotoxicity


Abstract Background: For the narrow ureter that will not accommodate a ureteroscope, it is common practice to place a ureteral stent, to allow subsequent ureteroscopy in the passively dilated ureter. Surprisingly, there are limited data on the effectiveness or safety of these maneuvers. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed patients managed with ureteral stent placement followed by another attempt at ureteroscopy after an initial attempt of flexible ureteroscopy failed because the ureteroscope would not pass up an otherwise normal ureter. Results: Of 41 patients with follow-up who underwent ureteral stenting for this reason, the ureteroscope passed with ease poststenting in 29 (71%) and there was continued resistance in 12. Of these 12 patients, the ureteroscopy was continued despite resistance in 9, while another stent was placed in the remaining 3. Of these three patients, the third attempt at ureteroscopy was successful in two, and further attempts at ureteroscopy were not made after the third attempt failed in one. With a mean overall follow-up of 32 months, two patients (5%) developed ureteral strictures. Both were among nine patients in whom repeat ureteroscopy was performed despite resistance, with a rate of obstruction of 22% in this subgroup. Overall, ureteral stenting allowed successful ureteroscopy in 98% of patients. Conclusions: Ureteral stenting with subsequent ureteroscopy is a successful and safe method of addressing a narrow ureter that initially does not allow passage of a flexible ureteroscope, as long as persistent subsequent attempts to insert the ureteroscope are made only if it passes easily.

Concepts: Stent, Restenosis, Renal pelvis, Coronary stent, Ureteric stent, PASS


OBJECTIVE: To understand the nature and long-term fate of supranormal differential renal function (snDRF), analysis of a post-pyeloplasty database was performed. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Preoperative diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) diuretic renal scans (DRS) identified 33 children with snDRF (>55%). Postoperatively, all showed improved hydronephrosis in ultrasound imaging or normalized drainage pattern in DRS during more than 5 years of follow-up. The fate of snDRF was described, and the nature of snDRF was speculated by associating it with clinical and ultrasound-related variables. RESULTS: Median age at operation was 22 months. Preoperative hydronephrosis was grade III in 27 patients (82%) and grade IV in 6 (18%). Hydronephrosis was normalized or improved, showing relief of obstruction. Overall fate of snDRF revealed significant reduction of DRF in 23 patients (70%), of whom 18 (81%) showed normalization during 5 years of follow-up. Stationary change of snDRF was seen in one-third of patients. Comparison of clinical and ultrasound-related variables revealed lower age, lower renal parenchyma thickness (RPT) increase, and higher preoperative DRF in the normalized group compared with the other group. The normalized group also showed a higher number in Society of Fetal Urology grade 4 hydronephrosis and lower RPT, although they reached borderline statistical significance. CONCLUSION: Long-term follow-up revealed that 70% of snDRF significantly decreased and normalized in most patients. The normalized group was younger and showed more hydronephrotic changes. Hydronephrotic change is suggested as a possible cause of snDRF.

Concepts: Kidney, Nephrology, Statistical significance, Renal pelvis, Statistical hypothesis testing, Effect size, Multiple comparisons, Hydronephrosis


Observation is a conservative management option in infants with nonrefluxing hydronephrosis, primary nonrefluxing megaureter and ureterocele diagnosed postnatally following antenatal detection of hydronephrosis. Antibiotic prophylaxis might be a sensible regimen under these circumstances to prevent UTI in this population who are potentially at increased risk. However, studies examining the efficacy of prophylactic antibiotics are sparse in this setting. For each condition, prophylactic policies seem extremely variable, and UTI rates vary widely with comparable rates reported between patients followed on and off antibiotics. Overall, antibiotic prophylaxis seems unnecessary in patients with isolated low-grade hydronephrosis. Patients with high-grade nonrefluxing hydronephrosis seem at increased risk of UTI, with risk further increasing in patients with associated ureteral dilatation (hydroureteronephrosis) irrespective of the presence of a ureterocele. Obstruction might be an additional independent risk factor, but the diagnosis of obstruction is often possible only in retrospect. The data available suggest that infants are the most at risk of UTI during the first 6 months of life, particularly if they undergo catheterization during workup examinations. Thus, antibiotic prophylaxis might be prudent during the first 6-12 months of life in patients with high-grade hydronephrosis and hydroureteronephrosis with or without ureterocele, and particularly before completion of the diagnostic workup. Paediatric urologists are urged to embark on controlled trials to compare patients followed with and without antibiotic prophylaxis.

Concepts: Kidney, Medicine, Diagnosis, Urology, Physician, Renal pelvis, Antibiotic, Urinary retention


This study evaluates the feasibility and safety of open-partial nephrectomies in the ZIRK-technique (Zero Ischemia Resection in the Kidney) for renal masses with high-risk anatomical features - objectified by the PADUA score.

Concepts: Kidney, Organ, Renal pelvis


Recent studies indicate that mineralo-organic nanoparticles form in various human body fluids, including blood and urine. These nanoparticles may form within renal tubules and increase in size in supersaturated urine, eventually leading to the formation of kidney stones. Here, we present observations suggesting that mineralo-organic nanoparticles found in blood may induce kidney stone formation via an alternative mechanism in which the particles translocate through endothelial and renal epithelial cells to reach urine. We propose that this alternative mechanism of kidney stone formation and the study of mineralo-organic nanoparticles in general may provide novel strategies for the early detection and treatment of ectopic calcifications and kidney stones.

Concepts: Kidney, Nephrology, Nephron, Epithelium, Urinary bladder, Endothelium, Renal pelvis, Kidney stone


Prostate stem cells (P-SCs) are capable of giving rise to all three lineages of prostate epithelial cells, including basal, luminal, and neuroendocrine cells. Multiple methods have been used to identify P-SCs in adult prostates. These include in vivo renal capsule implantation of a single epithelial cell with urogenital mesenchymal cells, in vitro prostasphere and organoid cultures, and lineage-tracing with castration-resistant Nkx3.1 expression (CARN), in conjunction with expression of cell-type specific markers. Both organoid culture and CARN tracing show the existence of P-SCs in the luminal compartment. Although prostasphere cells predominantly express basal cell specific cytokeratin and P63, the lineage of prostasphere-forming cells in the P-SC hierarchy remains to be determined. Using lineage-tracing with P63CreERT2, we show here that the sphere-forming P-SCs are P63-expressing cells and reside in the basal compartment. Therefore we designate them as basal P-SCs (P-bSCs). P-bSCs are capable of differentiating into AR+ and CK18+ organoid cells, but organoid cells cannot form spheres. We also report that prostaspheres contain quiescent stem cells. Therefore, the results show that P-bSCs represent stem cells that are early in the hierarchy of overall prostate tissue stem cells. Understanding the contribution of the two types of P-SCs to prostate development and prostate cancer stem cells and how to manipulate them may open new avenues for control of prostate cancer progression and relapse.

Concepts: Cancer, Stem cell, Prostate cancer, Epithelium, Basement membrane, Basal lamina, Skin, Renal pelvis


Acute kidney injury is a major clinical problem and advanced age is associated with ineffective renal regeneration and poor functional outcome. Data from kidney injury models suggest that a loss of tubular epithelial proliferation contributes to a decrease in renal repair capacity with aging, but aging can also lead to a higher severity of inflammation and damage which may influence repair. In this study we tested intrinsic age-dependent changes in tubular epithelial proliferation in young and old mice, by injecting low-dose lead acetate as a non-injurious mitogen. In parallel, we explored in vitro techniques of studying cellular senescence in primary tubular epithelial cells (PTEC). Lead acetate induced tubular epithelial proliferation at a significantly higher rate in young as compared to old mice. Old kidneys showed significantly more senescence as demonstrated by increased p16 (INK4a) , senescence associated β-galactosidase, and γH2AX(+)/Ki-67(-) cells. This was paralleled in old kidneys by a higher number of Cyclin D1 positive tubular cells. This finding was corroborated by a positive correlation between Cyclin D1 positivity and age in human renal biopsies. When tubular cells were isolated from mouse kidneys they rapidly lost their age-associated differences under culture conditions. However, senescence was readily induced in PTEC by γ-irradiation representing a future model for study of cellular senescence in the renal epithelium. Together, our data indicate that the tubular epithelium of aged kidney has an intrinsically reduced proliferative capacity probably due to a higher load of senescent cells. Moreover, stress induced models of cellular senescence are preferable for study of the renal epithelium in vitro. Finally, the positive correlation of Cyclin D1 with age and cellular senescence in PTEC needs further evaluation as to a functional role of renal epithelial aging.

Concepts: Death, Senescence, Epithelium, Gerontology, Old age, Ageing, Aging, Renal pelvis