New Cellular Approach Found to Control Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease


Source: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Summary: Researchers for the first time have demonstrated that extracellular vesicles isolated from amniotic fluid stem cells (AFSCs) can be effectively used to slow the progression of kidney damage.


A genetic condition called Alport syndrome is characterized by kidney disease that causes damage to the kidneys by progressive damage to the glomerulus – part of kidneys, a tuft of blood capillaries involved in filtering the blood. In people with Alport syndrome, elevated levels of VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) are observed early on in the disease. Increased VEGF causes scar tissue and severe damage to the glomeruli eventually leading to kidney failure. Researchers from the Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for the first time have demonstrated that extracellular vesicles (tiny protein filled structures) isolated from amniotic fluid stem cells (AFSCs) can be effectively used to slow the progression of kidney damage. The results of the research findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Extracellular vesicles isolated from amniotic fluid stem cells can control the progression of kidney damage. Credit: CHLA

The research team, in the current study, hypothesized that AFSCs provide protection to the kidneys by releasing extracellular vesicles – tiny membrane surrounded structures that contain receptors on their surface that can bind VEGF and reduce its biological activity on renal cells. The vesicles targeting the glomerulus helped in maintaining cellular homeostasis and a stable level of functioning by preventing endothelial damage. The finding represents a potential glomerulus-targeted intervention for chronic kidney disease. The team’s next step will be to validate the stem cell-derived vesicle in different kidney disease types with the final aim to find a therapy that is effective for all patients who suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The principal investigator of the study, Laura Perin said, “The advantage of this approach is that we can really modify the amount and the types of extracellular vesicles that we inject and they seem to be homing to and acting directly in the area that requires treatment.”


More Information: S. Sedrakyan et al, “Amniotic fluid stem cell-derived vesicles protect from VEGF-induced endothelial damage”, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-17061-2


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