Stem Cell Research


Healing Cells in the Kidney of the Adult Rat

Henry E. Young, Gypsy F. Black, Julie A. Coleman, Kristina C. Hawkins, Shanna Williams, Asa C. Black, Jr.

Chronic kidney disease is an increasing public health issue. Prevalence has been estimated to be 8-16% worldwide. Complications include increased mortality including cardiovascular mortality, progression of kidney disease, acute kidney injury, cognitive decline, anemia, disorders of mineral and bone, and fractures. Two types healing cells, pluripotent stem cells and totipotent stem cells, have been located, isolated and characterized from skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, bone marrow, dermis, and blood of adult animals, including humans. The current study was undertaken to determine whether these two populations of healing cells were present in the kidney of the adult rat. Adult rats were euthanized following the guidelines of Mercer University’s IACUC. The kidneys were harvested, fixed, cryosectioned and stained with two antibodies diagnostic for these healing cells, i.e., stage-specific embryonic antigen-4 (SSEA-4) for pluripotent stem cells and carcinoembryonic antigen-cell adhesion molecule-1 (CEA-CAM-1) for totipotent stem cells. Cells staining for SSEA-4 were located amongst the tubules in the medulla of the kidney, whereas cells staining for CEA-CAM-1 were located among the glomeruli in the cortex of the kidney and among the tubules in the medulla of the kidney. This is the first report of native populations of both pluripotent and totipotent healing cells in the adult rat kidney. Studies are ongoing to address their functional significance during normal kidney maintenance and repair.