Promising renal replacement therapies include the development of a bioartificial kidney using functional human kidney cell models. In this study, human conditionally immortalized proximal tubular epithelial cell (ciPTEC) lines originating from kidney tissue (ciPTEC-T1 and ciPTEC-T2) were compared to ciPTEC previously isolated from urine (ciPTEC-U).
Subclones of all ciPTEC isolates formed tight cell layers on Transwell inserts as determined by transepithelial resistance, inulin diffusion, E-cadherin expression and immunocytochemisty. Extracellular matrix genes collagen I and -IV α1 were highly present in both kidney tissue derived matured cell lines (p<0.001) compared to matured ciPTEC-U, whereas matured ciPTEC-U showed a more pronounced fibronectin I and laminin 5 gene expression (p<0.01 and p<0.05, respectively). Expression of the influx carrier Organic Cation Transporter 2 (OCT-2), and the efflux pumps P-glycoprotein (P-gp), Multidrug Resistance Protein 4 (MRP4) and Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP) were confirmed in the three cell lines using real-time PCR and Western blotting. The activities of OCT-2 and P-gp were sensitive to specific inhibition in all models (p<0.001). The highest activity of MRP4 and BCRP was demonstrated in ciPTEC-U (p<0.05). Finally, active albumin reabsorption was highest in ciPTEC-T2 (p<0.001), while Na+-dependent phosphate reabsorption was most abundant in ciPTEC-U (p<0.01).
In conclusion, ciPTEC established from human urine or kidney tissue display comparable functional PTEC specific transporters and physiological characteristics, providing ideal human tools for bioartificial kidney development.