The potential of bone marrow-derived cells to differentiate to glomerular mesangial cells

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2001 Jul;12(7):1401-1409. doi: 10.1681/ASN.V1271401.


Bone marrow stem cells (BMC) develop into hematopoietic and mesenchymal lineages but have not been known to differentiate into glomerular cells. To investigate whether such differentiation is possible, a search was made for donor glomerular cells in lethally irradiated C57BL/6j (B6) mice given transplants of BMC from syngeneic mice transgenic for green fluorescence protein (GFP) ([GFP-->B6] mice). After the recipients of donor BMC manifested GFP-positive cells in their glomeruli, the numbers of such cells increased markedly, in a time-dependent manner, from 2 wk to 24 wk after bone marrow transplantation. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed that most GFP-positive cells in the glomeruli were neither macrophages nor T cells. With the use of a laser-scanning confocal microscope, GFP-positive cells were observed within the mesangium of [GFP-->B6] mice. Furthermore, indirect immunofluorescence assays demonstrated that desmin-positive cells in the glomeruli of these chimeric mice were also positive for GFP. Among glomerular cells isolated from [GFP-->B6] mice 24 wk after bone marrow transplantation and then cultured, the majority of cells (approximately 84%) stained for desmin and approximately 60% of the desmin-positive cells expressed GFP. In addition, these GFP-positive cells in the cultures contracted in response to angiotensin II stimulation. These results suggest that bone marrow-derived cells may have the potential to differentiate into glomerular mesangial cells.

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / drug effects
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Desmin / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glomerular Mesangium / cytology*
  • Glomerular Mesangium / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Indicators and Reagents / metabolism
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic / genetics
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Donors


  • Desmin
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Angiotensin II
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins