Filtration Fascination

Stem cell-derived kidney organoids contain structures that are also present in an adult kidney, such as the filtration unit and tubular structures. Following transplantation in laboratory animals, the structures mature and start to function: they filtrate the blood. We investigate the connection between transplanted kidney organoids and mouse kidneys to evaluate if the generated urine is excreted.

Body area Kidney


Kidneys filter your blood and remove waste and excess fluid from your body. Patients with end stage renal disease need either dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive. Kidney transplantation from a donor is the preferred treatment option, however there are not enough donor kidneys available. We aim to generate transplantable kidneys from stem cells that can serve each patient in need of a kidney transplant.

reNEW research

The kidney organoids start to function when they are transplanted. Within reNEW we aim to improve the protocol to generate kidney organoids in vitro and explore alternative methods for transplantation of these tissues. This could assist in creating the connection between kidney organoids and the collecting system in the kidney of the recipient animal for elimination of urine.

Image description

It is fascinating that upon transplantation the stem cell-derived glomerulus matures and starts to function. Filtration takes place at the glomerular basement membrane (highlighted in blue) that serves as a barrier for size selective sieving.


Scientist: Cathelijne van den Berg, Lab Ton Rabelink (Internal Medicine, Nephrology).
Electron microscopy perfomed by Cristina Avramut. reNEW Leiden.