Bergamo, Italy -
Although numerous studies, both preclinical and clinical have demonstrated the potency of adult stem cells for treatment of heart and liver degenerative conditions, relatively little work has been performed using stem cells for renal failure. In a recent paper (Imberti et al. Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Sustains Stem Cell Mediated Renal Repair. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2007 Oct 17) it was demonstrated that mesenchymal stem cells excert renal-protective effects in a cisplatin induced model of kidney failure.
The authors performed in vitro experiments in which proximal tubular epithelial cells (the same cells that degenerate in diabetic renal failure) were injured by exposure to the chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin and cultured together with mesenchymal stem cells. The scientists found that the mesenchymal stem cells mediated an anti-apoptotic effect which could be abrogated by addition of anti-IGF-1 antibody. To demonstrate the importance of IGF-1 in mediating renal-protective effects, the gene for this growth factor was silenced by RNA interference and this also diminished the anti-apoptotic activities of mesenchymal stem cells.
Even stronger evidence of the importance of IGF-1 was obtained when mice were treated with cisplatin and mesenchymal stem cells were administered for renal-protection. If the mesenchymal stem cells were previously treated with siRNA that targets IFG-1, then their in vivo protective effects where diminished.
These data strongly support a role of IGF-1 in promoting renal protective and maybe regenerative effects of mesenchymal stem cells.