Stem cells and progenitor cells in renal disease

Kidney Int. 2005 Nov;68(5):1932-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1755.2005.00622.x.


Stem cells and progenitor cells are necessary for repair and regeneration of injured renal tissue. Infiltrating or resident stem cells can contribute to the replacement of lost or damaged tissue. However, the regulation of circulating progenitor cells is not well understood. We have analyzed the effects of erythropoietin on circulating progenitor cells and found that low levels of erythropoietin induce mobilization and differentiation of endothelial progenitor cells. In an animal model of 5/6 nephrectomy we could demonstrate that erythropoietin ameliorates tissue injury. Full regeneration of renal tissue demands the existence of stem cells and an adequate local "milieu," a so-called stem cell niche. We have previously described a stem cell niche in the kidneys of the dogfish, Squalus acanthus. Further analysis revealed that in the regenerating zone of the shark kidney, stem cells exist that can be induced by loss of renal tissue to form new glomeruli. Such animal models improve our understanding of stem cell behavior in the kidney and may eventually contribute to novel therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Kidney / cytology*
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology*
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology*