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Cell Transplant. 2013;22(6):1023-39. doi: 10.3727/096368912X653237. Epub 2012 Aug 10.

A population of selected renal cells augments renal function and extends survival in the ZSF1 model of progressive diabetic nephropathy.

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Tengion, Inc., Science and Technology, Winston-Salem, NC 27103, USA.


New treatment paradigms that slow or reverse progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) are needed to relieve significant patient and healthcare burdens. We have shown that a population of selected renal cells (SRCs) stabilized disease progression in a mass reduction model of CKD. Here, we further define the cellular composition of SRCs and apply this novel therapeutic approach to the ZSF1 rat, a model of severe progressive nephropathy secondary to diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. Injection of syngeneic SRCs into the ZSF1 renal cortex elicited a regenerative response that significantly improved survival and stabilized disease progression to renal structure and function beyond 1 year posttreatment. Functional improvements included normalization of multiple nephron structures and functions including glomerular filtration, tubular protein handling, electrolyte balance, and the ability to concentrate urine. Improvements to blood pressure, including reduced levels of circulating renin, were also observed. These functional improvements following SRC treatment were accompanied by significant reductions in glomerular sclerosis, tubular degeneration, and interstitial inflammation and fibrosis. Collectively, these data support the utility of a novel renal cell-based approach for slowing renal disease progression associated with diabetic nephropathy in the setting of metabolic syndrome, one of the most common causes of end-stage renal disease.

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