BWH Logo Renal disease seems to be a common issue among many individuals across the globe. Well, the medical world recently stumbled upon a promising way to improve kidney function. A latest research led by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh has found a cell in zebrafish that can be transplanted from one fish to another for regenerating nephrons.

Obesity, poor nutrition and lack of exercise are predicted to increase the incidence of renal failure. However, majority of the times it is the inability to generate nephrons, that paves way for renal failure. Non-mammalian vertebrates like zebrafish are known to go through a unique regenerative process, wherein they generate nephrons throughout their lives and can generate new nephrons following renal injury. Therefore, understanding the way non-mammalian vertebrates undertake this regenerative process can help repair damaged human kidneys.

In the current research, scientists identified and characterized a progenitor cell in adult zebrafish kidneys. This progenitor cell can be probably transplanted from one fish to another for regenerating new nephrons. Dr. Alan Davidson, at the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, who was the lead researcher and colleagues anticipate that similar cells can be helpful for humans as well.

The research is published in the February 3 edition of Nature.