Renogenic characterization and in vitro differentiation of rat amniotic fluid stem cells into renal proximal tubular- and juxtaglomerular-like cells

  • Ekta Minocha
  • Chandra Prakash Chaturvedi
  • Soniya NityanandEmail author


The aim of the present study was to investigate the renogenic characteristics of amniotic fluid stem cells (AFSCs) and to evaluate their in vitro differentiation potential into renal proximal tubular-like cells and juxtaglomerular-like cells. We culture expanded AFSCs derived from rat amniotic fluid. The AFSCs grew as adherent spindle-shaped cells and expressed mesenchymal markers CD73, CD90, and CD105 as well as renal progenitor markers WT1, PAX2, SIX2, SALL1, and CITED1. AFSCs exhibited an in vitro differentiation potential into renal proximal tubular epithelial-like cells, as shown by the upregulation of expression of proximal tubular cell–specific genes like AQP1, CD13, PEPT1, GLUT5, OAT1, and OCT1. AFSCs could also be differentiated into juxtaglomerular-like cells as demonstrated by the expression of renin and α-SMA. The AFSCs also expressed pluripotency markers OCT4, NANOG, and SOX2 and could be induced into embryoid bodies with differentiation into all the three germ layers, highlighting the pluripotent nature of these cells. Our results show that amniotic fluid contains a population of primitive stem cells that express renal-progenitor markers and also possess the propensity to differentiate into two renal lineage cell types and, thus, may have a therapeutic potential in renal regenerative medicine.


Amniotic fluid stem cells Renal progenitor markers Proximal tubular epithelial cells Juxtaglomerular cells Embryoid bodies 



The authors would like to extend their sincere thanks to Miss Manali Jain and Miss Shobhita Katiyar for assisting them in performing the growth kinetics and flow cytometry experiments. We would also like to express our gratitude to Dr. Anup Kumar, Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics, SGPGIMS, for extending his help for statistical analysis.

Funding information

This work was supported by an Extramural Grant (BT/PR16863/MED/31/338/2016) of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt. of India, sanctioned to SN and Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance Fellowship Grant (IA/I/16/1/502374) sanctioned to CPC. EM is the recipient of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, INSPIRE PhD fellowship.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Society for In Vitro Biology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stem Cell Research Facility, Department of HematologySanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS)LucknowIndia

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