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Stem cells bring fast direct improvement, without differentiation, in acute renal failure

"highly renoprotective, showing almost immediate improvement in both kidney function and degree of tissue injury, followed by accelerated regeneration and return of function," he said. Furthermore, "these beneficial effects are predominantly mediated, as our data suggest, by paracrine rather than transdifferentiation-dependent mechanisms," the paper reported. Paracrine indicates action instigated by nearby cells.

These new results "challenge the most popular hypothesis of how stem cells work in kidney protection and repair, which holds that administered stem cells enter an injured organ where they differentiate into those cells that have been destroyed, and thus replace them both anatomically and functionally," Westenfelder said.

MSC paracrine effects prompt a positive cascade, halt inflammatory response

Rather, the Utah team found that "administered stem cells don't stay in the kidney that has ARF long enough to differentiate into kidney cells, but rather appear to alter the course of ARF by a number of identifiable and some still unexplored paracrine mechanisms. The former include the induction of organ-protective and repair-supporting genes in surviving renal cells, robust suppression of proinflammatory cytokines in the ARF kidney and upregulation of anti-inflammatory genes, as well as the delivery and release at the site of injury of organ-protective and other beneficial gene products by the stem cells per se. Collectively, these and as yet unidentified mechanisms represent a highly potent intervention in ARF," Westenfelder stated.

The study, "Administered mesenchymal stem cells protect against ischemic acute renal failure through differentiation-independent mechanisms," appears in the American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society. Research was conducted by Florian Tgel, Zhuma Hu, Kathleen Weiss, and Christof Westenfelder of the University of Utah and the Veterans Affai
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15-Aug-2005


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