Bone marrow-derived cells play a major role in kidney fibrosis via proliferation and differentiation in the infiltrated site

Hee Seong Jang, Jee In Kim, Kyong Jin Jung, Jinu Kim, Ki Hwan Han, Kwon Moo Park

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38 Scopus citations


Increase of interstitial cell population, resulting in the expansion of interstitium, excessive production of extracellular matrix, and reduction of functioning tubules, is critical in fibrotic progression in the kidney of patients suffering from chronic renal diseases. Here, we investigated the contribution of bone marrow-derived cells (BMDC) in kidney fibrosis caused by ureteral obstruction (UO) using eGFP bone marrow-reconstituted chimeric mice. UO caused dramatic increases in the numbers of interstitial cells and expansion of the interstitium. Most kidney interstitial cells expressed GFP. Twenty nine percent of interstitial cells were cells that had proliferated and approximately 89% among them were BMDCs. Proliferation of fibroblasts differentiated from BMDCs significantly occurred in the interstitium of UO-kidney. Removal of BMDCs by whole body irradiation after UO resulted in reduction of kidney fibrosis, while injection of RAW264.7 cells, monocytes/macrophages, into irradiated mice induced a reversal of this reduction. Treatment with apocynin, an inhibitor of NADPH oxidase, reduced infiltration of BMDCs into the UO-kidney, leading to reduction of kidney fibrosis. In addition, only a few slow-cycling cells were observed in the interstitium of normal kidney. Even after UO, no change in the number of those cells was observed. Our findings demonstrate that BMDCs are a major source for interstitial expansion during kidney fibrosis via infiltration into damaged sites, differentiation to fibroblasts, and subsequent proliferation, contributing kidney fibrosis. These data provide a clear therapeutic target for treatment of chronic kidney disease. •BMDCs occupy the majority of increased interstitial population in fibrotic kidney.•BMDCs differentiate into the cell that has characteristics of fibroblast and subsequently proliferate in fibrotic kidney.•Inhibition of BMDCs infiltration and production prevents the kidney fibrosis.•Interstitial slow-cycling cell may not participate in increased fibroblast population in fibrotic kidney.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-825
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Korea Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea ( A111366 ).


  • Bone marrow-derived cell
  • Differentiation
  • Fibroblast
  • Fibrosis
  • Proliferation
  • Reactive oxygen species


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