The in vivo engraftment of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived podocytes following allogeneic transplantation into host kidneys remains a challenge. Here we investigate the survival and engraftment of human dermal fibroblasts-derived differentiated iPSCs using a newborn mouse model, which represents a receptive immunoprivileged host environment. iPSCs were generated from skin biopsies of patients using Sendai virus reprogramming. Differentiation of nephrin (NPHS1)-green fluorescent protein (GFP) iPSCs into kidney podocytes (iPSC-PODs) was performed by the addition of Activin A, bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP7), and retinoic acid over 10 days of culture. To assess the in vivo incorporation of cells, undifferentiated iPSCs or day 10 iPSC-PODs, were labeled with either carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE) or Qdot nanocrystals (Q705). Thereafter, 1 × 105 differentiated iPSC-PODs were injected directly into the kidneys of mouse pups at postnatal day one (P1). Using co-expression analysis of glomerular and podocyte-specific markers, Day 10 differentiated iPSC-PODs that were positive for podocin, were detected following direct kidney injection into newborn mice up to 1 week after transplantation. Undifferentiated iPSC-PODs were not detected at the same timepoint. The transplanted cells were viable and located in the outer nephrogenic zone where they were found to colocalize with, or sit adjacent to, cells positive for glomerular-specific markers including podocin, synaptopodin, and Wilms' tumor 1 (WT1). This study provides proof-of-principle that transplanted iPSC–POD can survive in recipient newborn mouse kidneys due to the immature and immunoprivileged nature of the developing postnatal kidneys.
- newborn mouse
- pluripotent stem cells