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Ischemia and subsequent reperfusion (I/R) damage kidney tubular cells and consequently impair renal function. Rabbit bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) expressing human bone morphogenic protein-7 (hBMP-7) regenerated tubular cells and improved renal function in a kidney I/R model. Rabbits were injected immediately after I/R with one of the following: (i) hBMP-7-transduced BM-MSCs (BM-MSCshBMP-7); (ii) enhanced green fluorescent protein–transduced BM-MSCs (BM-MSCsEGFP); or (iii) PBS. The activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) was higher, and the amount of malondialdehyde (MDA) was lower in the BM-MSCshBMP-7 group than in the BM-MSCsEGFP group. Both the BM-MSCshBMP-7 group and the BM-MSCsEGFP group had higher SOD activity and lower amounts of MDA than the PBS group. Bcl-2- and Bcl-2-associated X protein levels, and other variables, indicated the regeneration of the kidney in both experimental groups. However, the BM-MSCs hBMP-7 group showed higher activity than the BM-MSCsEGFP group, indicating that the combined strategy of BM-MSC transplantation with hBMP-7 gene therapy could be a useful approach for the treatment of renal IRI.