Scientists at the Saban Research Institute at The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have shown that stem cells from amniotic fluid can slow kidney disease progression in mice with Alport syndrome. Treating the mice with stem cells prior to the onset of proteinuria improved survival rates, delayed the progression of kidney scarring and lessened the decline in kidney function. Although the treatment did not result in new podocyte-like cells due to stem cell differentiation, normal podocyte numbers were preserved. The researchers think the protective benefits of stem cells may be due to inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system. They believe amniotic stem cells could be beneficial in treating other fibrotic kidney diseases, but they don’t know whether they could help with chronic kidney disease.
Injection of Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells Delays Progression of Renal Fibrosis, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, February 2, 2012