Recent research has shown that fully developed organs can be decellularized, resulting in a complex scaffold and extracellular matrix (ECM) network capable of being populated with other cells. This work has resulted in a growing field in bioengineering focused on the isolation, characterization, and modification of organ derived acellular scaffolds and their potential to sustain and interact with new cell populations, a process termed reseeding. In this review, we cover contemporary advancements in the bioengineering of kidney scaffolds including novel work showing that reseeded donor scaffolds can be transplanted and can function in recipients using animal models. Several major areas of the field are taken into consideration, including the decellularization process, characterization of acellular and reseeded scaffolds, culture conditions, and cell sources. Finally, we discuss future avenues based on the advent of 3D bioprinting and recent developments in kidney organoid cultures as well as animal models of renal genesis. The ongoing mergers and collaborations between these fields hold the potential to produce functional kidneys that can be generated ex vivo
and utilized for kidney transplantations in patients suffering with renal disease.
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