Autologous bone-marrow stem cells stimulation reverses post-ischemic-reperfusion kidney injury in rats

Am J Nephrol. 2014;40(5):425-33. doi: 10.1159/000368721. Epub 2014 Nov 18.


Background/aims: Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been found to modulate biological activity. The aim of the present study was to investigate the possible beneficial effects of LLLT application to stem cells in the bone marrow (BM), on the kidneys of rats that had undergone acute ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI).

Methods: Injury to the kidneys was induced by the excision of the left kidney and 60 min of IRI to the right kidney in each rat. Rats were then divided randomly into 2 groups: non-laser-treated and laser-treated. LLLT was applied to the BM 10 min and 24 h post-IRI and rats were sacrificed 4 days post-IRI. Blood was collected before the sacrifice and the kidney processed for histology.

Results: Histological evaluation of kidney sections revealed the restored structural integrity of the renal tubules, and a significant reduction of 66% of pathological score in the laser-treated rats as compared to the non-laser-treated ones. C-kit positive cell density in kidneys post-IRI and laser-treatment was (p = 0.05) 2.4-fold higher compared to that of the non-laser treated group. Creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and cystatin-C levels were significantly 55, 48, and 25% lower respectively in the laser-treated rats as compared to non-treated ones.

Conclusion: LLLT application to the BM causes induction of stem cells, which subsequently migrate and home in on the injured kidney. Consequently, a significant reduction in pathological features and improved kidney function post-IRI are evident. The results demonstrate a novel approach in cell-based therapy for acute ischemic injured kidneys.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / metabolism
  • Acute Kidney Injury / pathology*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / therapy
  • Animals
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen
  • Bone Marrow Cells*
  • Creatinine / metabolism
  • Cystatin C / metabolism
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Tubules / metabolism
  • Kidney Tubules / pathology*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reperfusion Injury / metabolism
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology*
  • Reperfusion Injury / therapy


  • Cystatin C
  • Creatinine
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit