Reprogramming Urinary Cells into Neural Progenitor Cells

Reprogramming Urinary Cells into Neural Progenitor Cells

Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) have an inestimable prospect in biomedical research. Creative Bioarray provides a non-integration-free strategy to help customers generate neural stem cells from renal cells existing in human urine samples, providing researchers with a safe and promising choice for developing treatment schemes for neurodegenerative diseases.


To date, human fibroblasts have been the most common source of cells used in reprogramming studies. Fibroblasts are usually obtained from skin biopsies, which represent an invasive procedure and result in damage to healthy tissue. Naturally, because of the physiological self-renewal of epithelial tissue in the urinary tract, approximately 2,000 to 7,000 individual renal proximal tubular epithelial cells are detached and excreted with urine every day. Therefore, the collection and reprogramming of these cells derived from urine represent an excellent strategy for obtaining patients' own somatic cells in a simple and non-invasive manner.

NPCs capable of self-renewal and differentiation into neural cell lineages hold great promise for biomedical research as well as potential cellular therapies. The schemes of deriving NPC from brain tissue and inducing NPC from pluripotent stem cells have been mature. Moreover, the direct lineage-specific transformation of different somatic cells into expandable neural progenitor cells by a defined set of factors provides the opportunity to use disease- or patient-specific neural cells. Notably, due to the introduction of exogenous genes, there are still many open questions with these new technologies especially with regard to clinical safety.

Fig 1. Generation and characterization of chemical-induced NPCs (ciNPCs) from human urinary cells.Fig.1 Generation and characterization of chemical-induced NPCs (ciNPCs) from human urinary cells. (Chen, 2014)

Our Strategies

Recent findings of iPSCs induction from mouse somatic cells by small chemical molecules or under specific conditions provide a source for iNPCs without the introduction of exogenous factors. However, the differentiation of hiPSC into NSCs is time-consuming and varies among iPSC lines. In addition, iPSC poses a risk of teratomas when transplanted in vivo. To avoid these problems, Creative Bioarray designed new methods to directly convert somatic cells into NPCs without full reprogramming of the pluripotent state.

  • We developed a strategy for the generation of integration-free and expandable human NPCs. We combined an episomal system to deliver reprogramming factors with a chemically defined medium to reprogram human urine epithelial-like cells into NPCs (hUiNPCs). These transgene-free hUiNPCs are capable of self-renewal in vitro and differentiate into various functional neuronal subtypes and glial cells.
  • We successfully induced NPCs from human urinary cells under physiological hypoxic conditions by the chemical cocktail VCR (V, VPA, HDACs inhibitor; C, CHIR99021, GSK-3 kinases inhibitor and R, Repsox, TGF-β pathways inhibitor) without the introduction of exogenous transcription factors.


  • Generation of patient-specific NPCs for the treatment of neurological diseases
  • Research on neuroscience
  • Development of regenerative medicine

With a specialized and advanced experimental platform, Creative Bioarray offers clients a variety of strategies to generate NPCs from urine-derived cells that are capable of self-renewal and differentiation into neural cell lineages. If you are interested in our services, please contact us and our reliable and efficient services will accelerate your research.


  1. Cheng, L.; et al. Generation of neural progenitor cells by chemical cocktails and hypoxia. Cell research. 2014, 24(6): 665-679.
  2. Wang, L.; et al. Generation of integration-free neural progenitor cells from cells in human urine. Nature methods. 2013, 10(1): 84-89.
For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.