Stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles inhibit and revert fibrosis progression in a mouse model of diabetic nephropathy

Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 14;9(1):4468. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-41100-9.


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) that are derived from mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been shown to reprogram injured cells by activating regenerative processes. We herein investigate the potential therapeutic effect of EVs, shed by human bone marrow MSCs and by human liver stem-like cells (HLSCs), on the progression and reversion of fibrosis in a mouse model of diabetic nephropathy, as induced by streptozotocin. After the development of nephropathy, stem cell-derived EVs were administered weekly to diabetic mice for four weeks. The stem cell-derived EV treatment, but not the fibroblast EV treatment that was used as a control, significantly ameliorated functional parameters, such as albumin/creatinine excretion, plasma creatinine and blood urea nitrogen, which are altered in diabetic mice. Moreover, the renal fibrosis that develops during diabetic nephropathy progression was significantly inhibited in stem cell EV-treated animals. A correlation was found between the down regulation of several pro-fibrotic genes in renal tissues and the anti-fibrotic effect of HLSC and MSC EVs. A comparative analysis of HLSC and MSC EV miRNA content highlighted some common and some specific patterns of miRNAs that target predicted pro-fibrotic genes. In conclusion, stem cell-derived EVs inhibit fibrosis and prevent its progression in a model of diabetes-induced chronic kidney injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Creatinine / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Extracellular Vesicles / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Liver / cytology*
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mice
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism
  • Streptozocin
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Serum Albumin
  • Streptozocin
  • Creatinine