Chronic renal failure is an important clinical problem with significant socioeconomic impact worldwide. Despite advances in renal replacement therapies and organ transplantation, poor quality of life for dialysis patients and long transplant waiting lists remain major concerns for nephrologists treating this condition. There is therefore a pressing need for novel therapies to promote renal cellular repair and tissue remodeling. Over the past decade, advances in the field of regenerative medicine allowed development of cell therapies suitable for kidney repair. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are undifferentiated cells that possess immunomodulatory and tissue trophic properties and the ability to differentiate into multiple cell types. Studies in animal models of chronic renal failure have uncovered a unique potential of these cells for improving function and regenerating the damaged kidney. Nevertheless, several limitations pertaining to inadequate engraftment, difficulty to monitor, and untoward effects of MSCs remain to be addressed. Adverse effects observed following intravascular administration of MSCs include immune rejection, adipogenic differentiation, malignant transformation, and prothrombotic events. Nonetheless, most studies indicate a remarkable capability of MSCs to achieve kidney repair. This review summarizes the regenerative potential of MSCs to provide functional recovery from renal failure, focusing on their application and the current challenges facing clinical translation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Molecular Medicine
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Cell Biology