Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles Induce Regulatory T Cells to Ameliorate Chronic Kidney Injury

Turun Song, Alfonso Eirin, Xiangyang Zhu, Yu Zhao, James D. Krier, Hui Tang, Kyra L. Jordan, John R. Woollard, Timucin Taner, Amir Lerman, Lilach O. Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Metabolic syndrome (MetS) profoundly changes the contents of mesenchymal stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs). The anti-inflammatory TGF-β (transforming growth factor-β) is selectively enriched in EVs from Lean but not from MetS pigs, but the functional impact of this endowment remains unknown. We hypothesized that Lean-EVs more effectively induce regulatory T cells in injured kidneys. Five groups of pigs (n=7 each) were studied after 16 weeks of diet-induced MetS and unilateral renal artery stenosis (RAS; MetS+RAS). Two groups of MetS+RAS were treated 4 weeks earlier with an intrarenal injection of either Lean-EVs or MetS-EVs. MetS+RAS had lower renal volume, renal blood flow, and glomerular filtration rate than MetS pigs. Compared with Lean-EVs, MetS-EVs were less effective in improving renal function and decreasing tubular injury and fibrosis in MetS+RAS. Lean-EVs upregulated TGF-β expression in stenotic kidney and increased regulatory T cells numbers more prominently. Furthermore, markedly upregulated anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages reduced proinflammatory M1 macrophages, and CD8+T cells were detected in stenotic kidneys treated with Lean-EVs compared with MetS-EVs, and renal vein levels of interleukin-1β were reduced. In vitro, coculture of Lean-EVs with activated T cells led to greater TGF-β-dependent regulatory T cells induction than did MetS-EVs. Therefore, the beneficial effects of mesenchymal stem cells-derived EVs on injured kidneys might be partly mediated by their content of TGF-β signaling components, which permitting increased Treg preponderance. Modulating EV cargo and transforming their functionality might be useful for renal repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1223-1232
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • extracellular vesicles
  • fibrosis
  • macrophages
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • renal vein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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