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Chronic kidney disease is a major global health problem affecting millions of people; kidney tissue engineering provides an opportunity to better understand this disease, and has the capacity to provide a cure. Two-dimensional cell culture and decellularised tissue have been the main focus of this research thus far, but despite promising results these methods are not without their shortcomings. Polymer fabrication techniques such as electrospinning have the potential to provide a non-woven path for kidney tissue engineering. In this experiment we isolated rat primary kidney cells which were seeded on electrospun poly(lactic acid) scaffolds. Our results showed that the scaffolds were capable of sustaining a multi-population of kidney cells, determined by the presence of: aquaporin-1 (proximal tubules), aquaporin-2 (collecting ducts), synaptopodin (glomerular epithelia) and von Willebrand factor (glomerular endothelia cells), viability of cells appeared to be unaffected by fibre diameter. The ability of electrospun polymer scaffold to act as a conveyor for kidney cells makes them an ideal candidate within kidney tissue engineering; the non-woven path provides benefits over decellularised tissue by offering a high morphological control as well as providing superior mechanical properties with degradation over a tuneable time frame.
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