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Bone Marrow Stem Cells Repair Kidney Damage

Finding may provide treatment option for Alport syndrome patients

MONDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- Bone marrow cells can repair kidney damage and restore kidney function in a mouse model of Alport syndrome, a kidney disease associated with collagen mutations that destroy glomeruli and lead to renal failure, according to a report published online April 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Raghu Kalluri, Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues transplanted bone marrow cells from normal mice into mice that had a mutation in the COL4A3 gene designed to mimic Alport syndrome, and assessed kidney architecture and renal function.

The investigators found that the bone marrow-derived stem cells developed into kidney cells and improved glomeruli architecture damaged from COL4A3 mutations. Bone marrow-progenitor cells, as well as epithelial and mesangial cells, were found within the glomerulus and expressed at least three different collagen subtypes. The treatment also partially restored kidney function, measured by the amount of protein in the urine.

"Our results offer an opportunity for patients with Alport syndrome: a treatment of their inherited renal failure that is an alternative to lifelong dependence on hemodialysis or the prospect of repeated kidney transplantation starting at young adolescence," the authors write.

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