Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Stem Cells. Nov 26, 2016; 8(11): 367-375
Published online Nov 26, 2016. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v8.i11.367
Renal progenitors: Roles in kidney disease and regeneration
Brooke E Chambers, Rebecca A Wingert
Brooke E Chambers, Rebecca A Wingert, Department of Biological Sciences, Center for Zebrafish Research, Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, United States
Author contributions: Chambers BE and Wingert RA conceived, drafted and revised the paper.
Supported by National Institutes of Health, No. DP2 OD008470; the University of Notre Dame College of Science and Graduate School; and a generous donation to support stem cell research provided by the Gallagher Family.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Authors declare no conflict of interest for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Rebecca A Wingert, PhD, Department of Biological Sciences, Center for Zebrafish Research, Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, University of Notre Dame, 100 Galvin Life Sciences, Notre Dame, IN 46556, United States.
Telephone: +1-574-6310907 Fax: +1-574-6317413
Received: June 28, 2016
Peer-review started: July 1, 2016
First decision: August 5, 2016
Revised: August 18, 2016
Accepted: September 7, 2016
Article in press: September 8, 2016
Published online: November 26, 2016

Kidney disease is a devastating condition that affects millions of people worldwide, and its prevalence is predicted to significantly increase. The kidney is a complex organ encompassing many diverse cell types organized in a elaborate tissue architecture, making regeneration a challenging feat. In recent years, there has been a surge in the field of stem cell research to develop regenerative therapies for various organ systems. Here, we review some recent progressions in characterizing the role of renal progenitors in development, regeneration, and kidney disease in mammals. We also discuss how the zebrafish provides a unique experimental animal model that can provide a greater molecular and genetic understanding of renal progenitors, which may contribute to the development of potential regenerative therapies for human renal afflictions.

Keywords: Kidney, Renal progenitor, Nephrogenesis, Development, Nephron, Regeneration, Zebrafish, Parietal epithelial cell, Tubular progenitor cell

Core tip: The kidney is a complex organ comprised of many diverse cell types. Damage of renal cells leads to devastating kidney diseases because humans have limited abilities to regenerate these cells. Here, we explore recent research that has sought to better characterize renal progenitors during development, to identify whether renal stem cells exist in the adult kidney, and to understand the enigmatic properties of renal progenitors across diverse vertebrate species such as fish.