Concern over kidney disease has increased dramatically in recent years within the medical community. It is estimated that approximately one in fifteen Americans, nearly 20 million people, experience chronic kidney disease with most of those diagnosed progressing to kidney failure. The ultimate treatment available for end stage renal failure is whole kidney transplantation. However, there are very few kidneys available for patients to receive and those patients who are fortunate enough to receive an organ must remain on immunosuppressive medication for the remainder of their lives. The United States Department of Health & Human Services have reported that 18 people die every day while on the waiting list for organ donations. The treatment is fairly successful as 69% of patients who receive a kidney transplant are still alive 5 years after the transplant. Tissue engineered organs could be a promising alternative for whole organ transplantation. The overall objective is to repopulate appropriate decellularized scaffolds from pigs, which are not immunogenic, with a patient's own cells to achieve a functional organ. Therefore, there would be an inexhaustible source of organs ready for transplantation without the risk of immune rejection. The naturally obtained scaffolds devoid of immunogens are a potential matrix to create artificial kidneys. Repopulation of decellularized rat kidneys with renal progenitor cells has been reported in previous studies. This dissertation reports the scale-up of the previous technology and building of partially functional human-sized kidneys. In the first step, we investigated various cell lysing agents and developed an automated decellularization procedure for whole porcine kidney decellularization. We also developed a preservation method for native and decellularized kidneys to avoid spoilage before and after decellularization. We also developed a decontamination procedure for whole porcine kidneys. Finally, we recellularized whole porcine kidney scaffolds with renal epithelial cells and achieved partial repopulation of the renal structure.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Chemical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





Nafiseh Poornejad, decellularization, recellularization, renal tissue regeneration, porcine kidney