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Mesenchymal stromal cells to prevent fibrosis in kidney transplantation

Reinders, Marlies E.J.a; de Fijter, Johan W.a; Rabelink, Ton J.a,b

Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation: February 2014 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 - p 54–59
doi: 10.1097/MOT.0000000000000032
STEM CELL TRANSPLANTATION: Edited by Giuseppe Remuzzi

Purpose of review Kidney transplantation has improved the life expectancy and quality of life for patients with end-stage renal failure. However, despite the impressive improvements in short-term outcome parameters because of better and more potent immunosuppressive drugs, the long-term survival of renal allografts has changed little over the last decades. Sustained inflammation in the areas of interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy (IFTA) is a strong predictor of allograft failure. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have potent anti-inflammatory and reparative properties, and could thus play a role in controlling these processes.

Recent findings Local resident MSCs and exogenous MSCs have been implicated in the repair of the injured kidney, mostly by their paracrine functions. In the experimental models and clinical trials, first results with MSCs for the treatment of inflammation and IFTA suggest beneficial effects.

Summary Endogenously and exogenously administered MSCs might enhance the intrinsic reparative capabilities of the kidney in transplant recipients and maybe developed as a tool to control both inflammation and fibrosis.

aDepartment of Nephrology

bEinthoven Laboratory for Experimental Vascular Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands

Correspondence to Dr Marlies E.J. Reinders, Department of Nephrology, Leiden University Medical Center, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 71 526 2148; fax: +31 71 526 6868; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins