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The Regenerative Potential of Stem Cells in Acute Renal Failure

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Adult stem cells have been characterized in several tissues as a subpopulation of cells able to maintain, generate, and replace terminally differentiated cells in response to physiological cell turnover or tissue injury. Little is known regarding the presence of stem cells in the adult kidney but it is documented that under certain conditions, such as the recovery from acute injury, the kidney can regenerate itself by increasing the proliferation of some resident cells. The origin of these cells is largely undefined; they are often considered to derive from resident renal stem or progenitor cells. Whether these immature cells are a subpopulation preserved from the early stage of nephrogenesis is still a matter of investigation and represents an attractive possibility. Moreover, the contribution of bone marrow-derived stem cells to renal cell turnover and regeneration has been suggested. In mice and humans, there is evidence that extrarenal cells of bone marrow origin take part in tubular epithelium regeneration. Injury to a target organ can be sensed by bone marrow stem cells that migrate to the site of damage, undergo differentiation, and promote structural and functional repair. Recent studies have demonstrated that hematopoietic stem cells were mobilized following ischemia/reperfusion and engrafted the kidney to differentiate into tubular epithelium in the areas of damage. The evidence that mesenchymal stem cells, by virtue of their renoprotective property, restore renal tubular structure and also ameliorate renal function during experimental acute renal failure provides opportunities for therapeutic intervention.

Keywords: Acute renal failure; Kidney repair; Stem cells; Tubular cells

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Via Gavazzeni 11, 24125 Bergamo, Italy 2: Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Via Gavazzeni 11, 24125 Bergamo, Italy, Unit of Nephrology and Dialysis,Azienda Ospedaliera, Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo, Largo Barozzi 1, 24128 Bergamo, Italy

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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