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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

New Atlas of Human Kidney Cells to Help Unlock New Research

In a major breakthrough toward understanding and treating kidney disease, a nationwide NIH-funded research team has created the most comprehensive atlas of the human kidney. Data from the Kidney Tissue Atlas will allow the comparison of healthy kidney cells to those injured by kidney disease, helping investigators understand the factors that contribute to the progression of kidney disease and kidney failure or recovery from injury. 

The atlas, part of the Kidney Precision Medicine Project (KPMP), was supported by NIDDK, and published in Nature.

Due to the complexity of the kidney, scientists have struggled to develop kidney models that accurately represent human kidney structures and function, which has limited the ability to develop new treatments.

The atlas comprises maps of 51 main kidney cell types that include rare and novel cell populations, 28 kidney cellular states that represent injury or disease, a repository of raw gene data, and interactive 3D models of cells and microenvironment relationships created from 45 healthy donor kidneys and 48 kidney disease biopsies. 

The atlas thus establishes a critical foundation for KPMP’s overall goal to help discover new treatments for chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury, medical conditions that present a significant global health burden. The publicly available data created by KPMP, including all 3D renderings and analytical tools, can be accessed at

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