Rationale of mesenchymal stem cell therapy in kidney injury

Am J Kidney Dis. 2013 Feb;61(2):300-9. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2012.05.027. Epub 2012 Aug 30.


Numerous preclinical and clinical studies suggest that mesenchymal stem cells, also known as multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), may improve pathologic conditions involving different organs. These beneficial effects initially were ascribed to the differentiation of MSCs into organ parenchymal cells. However, at least in the kidney, this is a very rare event and the kidney-protective effects of MSCs have been attributed mainly to paracrine mechanisms. MSCs release a number of trophic, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulatory factors that may limit kidney injury and favor recovery. In this article, we provide an overview of the biologic activities of MSCs that may be relevant for the treatment of kidney injury in the context of a case vignette concerning a patient at high immunologic risk who underwent a second kidney transplantation followed by the development of ischemia-reperfusion injury and acute allograft rejection. We discuss the possible beneficial effect of MSC treatment in the light of preclinical and clinical data supporting the regenerative and immunomodulatory potential of MSCs.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reperfusion Injury / surgery*