Mesenchymal stem cells as novel micro-ribonucleic acid delivery vehicles in kidney disease

Kevin Yao, Sharon D Ricardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short single strands of RNA responsible for post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression and have been implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Emerging evidence reports that miRNAs can reduce kidney fibrosis through regulation of targets associated with collagen and extracellular matrix accumulation. However, the development of miRNA therapies has been hampered by the lack of targeted and sustainable methods of systemic miRNA delivery. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) provide a promising miRNA delivery platform to overcome toxicity, the potential for insertional mutations, and the low efficiency of previous methods. MSCs are endogenously immunoprivileged and home to sites of inflammation. They also release trophic growth factors to modulate the immune system, alter the polarisation of macrophages, and provide renal protection and repair. The potential to engineer MSCs to express or overexpress miRNAs, released by exosomes, may enhance their natural functions. Clinical studies are already being conducted individually for the use of miRNAs in cancer and MSCs in diseases associated with CKD. Hence, the combination of miRNAs and MSCs may provide an unparalleled cell-based therapy for treating CKD. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-371
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • exosome
  • kidney fibrosis
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • miRNA

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