Pericytes are considered reparative mesenchymal stem cell-like cells, but their ability to ameliorate chronic ischemic kidney injury is unknown. We hypothesized that pericytes would exhibit renoprotective effects in murine renal artery stenosis (RAS). Porcine kidney-derived pericytes (5 × 105) or vehicle were injected into the carotid artery 2 wk after the induction of unilateral RAS in mice. The stenotic kidney glomerular filtration rate and tissue oxygenation were measured 2 wk later using magnetic resonance imaging. We subsequently compared kidney oxidative stress, inflammation, apoptosis, fibrosis, and systemic levels of oxidative and inflammatory cytokines. Treatment of xenogeneic pericytes ameliorated the RAS-induced loss of perfusion, glomerular filtration rate, and atrophy in stenotic kidneys and restored cortical and medullary oxygenation but did not blunt hypertension. Ex vivo, pericytes injection partially mitigated RAS-induced renal inflammation, fibrosis, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and senescence. Furthermore, coculture with pericytes in vitro protected pig kidney-1 tubular cells from injury. In conclusion, exogenous delivery of renal pericytes protects the poststenotic mouse kidney from ischemic injury, underscoring the therapeutic potential role of pericytes in subjects with ischemic kidney disease.
- ischemic injury
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