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Stem Cells International
Volume 2015, Article ID 362562, 7 pages
Review Article

Human Urine as a Noninvasive Source of Kidney Cells

1Department of Development and Regeneration, Catholic University Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
2Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, Crown Street, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK
3Center for Molecular Biotechnology, Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, University of Turin, Via Nizza 52, 10126 Turin, Italy

Received 7 November 2014; Accepted 3 December 2014

Academic Editor: Akito Maeshima

Copyright © 2015 Fanny Oliveira Arcolino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Urine represents an unlimited source of patient-specific kidney cells that can be harvested noninvasively. Urine derived podocytes and proximal tubule cells have been used to study disease mechanisms and to screen for novel drug therapies in a variety of human kidney disorders. The urinary kidney stem/progenitor cells and extracellular vesicles, instead, might be promising for therapeutic treatments of kidney injury. The greatest advantages of urine as a source of viable cells are the easy collection and less complicated ethical issues. However, extensive characterization and in vivo studies still have to be performed before the clinical use of urine-derived kidney progenitors.