Enhancing the Therapeutic Potential of Mesenchymal Stromal Cell-Based Therapies with an Anti-Fibrotic Agent for the Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease

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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 1 in 10 members of the general population, placing these patients at an increasingly high risk of kidney failure. Despite the significant burden of CKD on various healthcare systems, there are no effective cures that reverse or even halt its progression. In recent years, human bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BM-MSCs) have been recognised as a novel therapy for CKDs, owing to their well-established immunomodulatory and tissue-reparative properties in preclinical settings, and their promising safety profile that has been demonstrated in patients with CKDs from several clinical trials. However, renal fibrosis (scarring), a hallmark of CKD, has been shown to impair the viability and functionality of BM-MSCs post-transplantation. This has suggested that BM-MSCs might require a pre-treatment or adjunct therapy that can enhance the viability and therapeutic efficacy of these stromal cells in chronic disease set-tings. To address this, recent studies that have combined BM-MSCs with the anti-fibrotic drug ser-elaxin (RLX), have demonstrated the enhanced therapeutic potential of this combination therapy in normotensive and hypertensive preclinical models of CKD. In this review, a critical appraisal of the preclinical data available on the anti-fibrotic and renoprotective actions of BM-MSCs or RLX alone and when combined, as a treatment option for normotensive vs. hypertensive CKD, is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6035
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • angiogenesis
  • bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells
  • chronic kidney disease
  • fibrosis
  • relaxin
  • wound repair

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