IJCEP Copyright © 2007-All rights reserved.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol 1(3):232-241;2008

Original Article
Adult Stem-Cell-Like Tubular Cells Reside in the Corticomedullary Junction of the Kidney

Kyungeun Kim, Kyoung Mee Lee, Duck Jong Han, Eunsil Yu and Yong Mee Cho

Department of Pathology and Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Received 28 Aug 2007; accepted and available online 1 January 2008

Abstract: The existence of adult renal stem cells has long been suspected because the kidney is capable of regeneration in response to injury,
such as acute tubular necrosis (ATN), but their location, or niche, has not been fully defined yet. The aim of this study was to identify the niche of
adult renal stem cells responsible for the tubular regeneration. The location of label-retaining cells (LRCs) was studied in adult mouse kidneys
after administration of a pulse of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) during embryonic period. To study regional participation in renal tubular
regeneration, the expression of the proliferation marker Ki-67 was examined after induction of unilateral ATN in mouse kidneys. Regional
colony-forming capacity was examined using cultured cells derived from normal mouse and human kidneys and their multipotency was
examined in human kidneys. LRCs in adult mouse kidneys were mostly tubular epithelial cells and concentrated constantly in the outer stripe
of the corticomedullary junction (CMJ). In the ATN model, Ki-67 positive cells were concentrated in the tubular epithelial cells of the outer stripe,
not only in the ATN kidneys but also in the contralateral non-ATN kidneys. High colony-forming capacity was noted in the CMJ of mouse and
human kidneys. Cultured cells derived from a single human CMJ cell revealed multipotency, differentiating not only into tubular cells but also
into glomerular podocytes. These results demonstrate that the CMJ of the kidney contains label-retaining, renal-repairing, highly colony-forming
multipotent stem cell-like tubular cells, suggesting the CMJ as the niche of adult renal stem cells. (IJCEP708015).

Key Words: Adult stem cells, kidney, niche, acute renal failure

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Address all correspondence to: Yong Mee Cho, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pathology, Asan Medical Center,University of Ulsan College of
Medicine, Phone: 82-2-3010-5965, Fax: 82-2-3010-7898, Email: