Mesenchymal stem cells in kidney repair

Marina Morigi, Cinzia Rota, Giuseppe Remuzzi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Every year 13.3 million people suffer acute kidney injury (AKI), which is associated with a high risk of death or development of long-term chronic kidney disease (CKD) in a substantial percentage of patients besides other organ dysfunctions. To date, the mortality rate per year for AKI exceeds 50 % at least in patients requiring early renal replacement therapy and is higher than the mortality for breast and prostate cancer, heart failure and diabetes combined. Until now, no effective treatments able to accelerate renal recovery and improve survival post AKI have been developed. In search of innovative and effective strategies to foster the limited regeneration capacity of the kidney, several studies have evaluated the ability of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) of different origin as an attractive therapeutic tool. The results obtained in several models of AKI and CKD document that MSCs have therapeutic potential in repair of renal injury, preserving renal function and structure thus prolonging animal survival through differentiation-independent pathways. In this chapter, we have summarized the mechanisms underlying the regenerative processes triggered by MSC treatment, essentially due to their paracrine activity. The capacity of MSC to migrate to the site of injury and to secrete a pool of growth factors and cytokines with anti-inflammatory, mitogenic, and immunomodulatory effects is described. New modalities of cell-to-cell communication via the release of microvesicles and exosomes by MSCs to injured renal cells will also be discussed. The translation of basic experimental data on MSC biology into effective care is still limited to preliminary phase I clinical trials and further studies are needed to definitively assess the efficacy of MSC-based therapy in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)10643745


  • AKI
  • CKD
  • Glomeruli
  • Growth factors
  • Kidney
  • MSCs
  • Paracrine effect
  • Tissue regeneration
  • Tubules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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