29 Scopus citations


The kidney possesses the capacity to repair after an acute insult, even one that causes complete organ failure. This regenerative response is characterized by robust proliferation of epithelial cells, principally those located in the proximal tubule. Because defining the origin of these reparative cells has important consequences for stem cell and regenerative approaches to treating kidney injury, this area has been the subject of intense investigation and debate. While progress has been made in narrowing the possible origin of these cells to an intratubular source, there has been no consensus between the possibility of a pre-existing intratubular stem or progenitor cell versus the possibility that fully differentiated epithelial cells re-enter the cell cycle after injury and generate new proximal tubule cells through self-duplication. This review will summarize the evidence on both sides of this active controversy and provide support for the notion that no pre-existing proximal tubule stem cell population exists, but rather all differentiated proximal tubule epithelia have the capacity to proliferate during repair by a mechanism of dedifferentiation and self-duplication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-679
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Bone marrow-derived cells
  • Dedifferentiation
  • Stem cell


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