Terminally differentiated cells can be reprogrammed to pluripotency or directly to another differentiated cell type in vitro, a capacity termed cellular plasticity. Plasticity is not limited to in vitro manipulations but rather represents an important aspect of the regenerative response to injury in organs. Differentiated adult cells retain the capacity to dedifferentiate, adopting a progenitor-like phenotype after injury or, alternatively, to transdifferentiate, directly converting to a different mature cell type. Emerging concepts on cellular plasticity have relevance to our understanding of repair after kidney injury, including epithelial regeneration. Here we discuss work published in the past 5 years on the cellular hierarchies and mechanisms underlying kidney injury and repair, with a particular focus on potential roles for cellular plasticity in this response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalNature Reviews Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


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