Bioengineered Kidney Tubules Efficiently Clear Uremic Toxins in Experimental Dialysis Conditions

João Faria, Sabbir Ahmed, Dimitrios Stamatialis, Marianne C. Verhaar, Rosalinde Masereeuw, Karin G.F. Gerritsen, Silvia M. Mihăilă*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) suffer from high levels of protein-bound uremic toxins (PBUTs) that contribute to various comorbidities. Conventional dialysis methods are ineffective in removing these PBUTs. A potential solution could be offered by a bioartificial kidney (BAK) composed of porous membranes covered by proximal tubule epithelial cells (PTECs) that actively secrete PBUTs. However, BAK development is currently being hampered by a lack of knowledge regarding the cytocompatibility of the dialysis fluid (DF) that comes in contact with the PTECs. Here, we conducted a comprehensive functional assessment of the DF on human conditionally immortalized PTECs (ciPTECs) cultured as monolayers in well plates, on Transwell® inserts, or on hollow fiber membranes (HFMs) that form functional units of a BAK. We evaluated cell viability markers, monolayer integrity, and PBUT clearance. Our results show that exposure to DF did not affect ciPTECs’ viability, membrane integrity, or function. Seven anionic PBUTs were efficiently cleared from the perfusion fluid containing a PBUTs cocktail or uremic plasma, an effect which was enhanced in the presence of albumin. Overall, our findings support that the DF is cytocompatible and does not compromise ciPTECs function, paving the way for further advancements in BAK development and its potential clinical application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12435
Number of pages15
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • bioartificial kidney
  • dialysis fluid
  • proximal tubule epithelial cells
  • uremic plasma
  • uremic toxins


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