Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2016;5(3):192-201. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2016.01062)

Urine-derived induced pluripotent stem cells as a modeling tool to study rare human diseases.

Shi L, Cui YZ, Luan J, Zhou XY, Han JX


Rare diseases with a low prevalence are a key public health issue because the causes of those diseases are difficult to determine and those diseases lack a clearly established or curative treatment. Thus, investigating the molecular mechanisms that underlie the pathology of rare diseases and facilitating the development of novel therapies using disease models is crucial. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are well suited to modeling rare diseases since they have the capacity for self-renewal and pluripotency. In addition, iPSC technology provides a valuable tool to generate patient-specific iPSCs. These cells can be differentiated into cell types that have been affected by a disease. These cells would circumvent ethical concerns and avoid immunological rejection, so they could be used in cell replacement therapy or regenerative medicine. To date, human iPSCs could have been generated from multiple donor sources, such as skin, adipose tissue, and peripheral blood. However, these cells are obtained via invasive procedures. In contrast, several groups of researchers have found that urine may be a better source for producing iPSCs from normal individuals or patients. This review discusses urinary iPSC (UiPSC) as a candidate for modeling rare diseases. Cells obtained from urine have overwhelming advantages compared to other donor sources since they are safely, affordably, and frequently obtained and they are readily obtained from patients. The use of iPSC-based models is also discussed. UiPSCs may prove to be a key means of modeling rare diseases and they may facilitate the treatment of those diseases in the future.

KEYWORDS: iPSCs, "urine cells", rare disease models

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