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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2001 Dec;12(12):2625-35.

Bone marrow is a reservoir of repopulating mesangial cells during glomerular remodeling.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, Osaka University School of Medicine, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka, Japan.


The renal glomerulus, whose cellular components are developmentally derived from the mesenchyme, plays a pivotal role in filtratating plasma. Irretrievable changes of glomerular components are responsible for the initiation and progression of impaired renal function. Recently, it has been shown that functional stem cells exist in the bone marrow of adult bodies and that they can reconstitute damaged tissues of the mesenchymal origin. To examine whether the bone marrow provides stem cells to damaged glomeruli, transgenic rats carrying enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP rat) were established in a systemic and constitutive manner. After transplanting the bone marrow of EGFP rats into wild-type rats, the progeny of the transplanted marrow cells were tracked with a tag of EGFP. Recruitment of bone marrow-derived cells into glomeruli was dramatically facilitated in response to mesangiolysis evoked in anti-Thy1 antibody-mediated glomerulonephritis. In the restored glomeruli, 11% to 12% of glomerular cells were derived from the transplanted bone marrow. The number of bone marrow-derived CD45(+) cells transiently increased during the disease process, and CD45-negative cells constantly accounted for more than half of the bone marrow-derived population in glomeruli. Bone marrow-derived Thy1(+) cells kept increasing in number until the remodeling ceased and finally made up 7% to 8% of glomerular cells. Laser scanning microscopy displayed that the bone marrow-derived Thy1(+) cells provide structural support for glomerular capillaries, which indicates that they are mesangial cells. Although CD45(-)Thy1(-) bone marrow-derived cells exist during the remodeling of glomeruli, none of them expressed endothelial markers such as Factor VIII and RECA1 as long as they were tested. The results indicate that the bone marrow can give rise to mesangial cells in vivo.

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