Human amniotic fluid stem cell preconditioning improves their regenerative potential

Cinzia Rota, Barbara Imberti, Michela Pozzobon, Martina Piccoli, Paolo De Coppi, Anthony Atala, Elena Gagliardini, Christodoulos Xinaris, Valentina Benedetti, Aline S.C. Fabricio, Elisa Squarcina, Mauro Abbate, Ariela Benigni, Giuseppe Remuzzi, Marina Morigi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Human amniotic fluid stem (hAFS) cells, a novel class of broadly multipotent stem cells that share characteristics of both embryonic and adult stem cells, have been regarded as promising candidate for cell therapy. Taking advantage by the well-established murine model of acute kidney injury (AKI), we studied the proregenerative effect of hAFS cells in immunodeficient mice injected with the nephrotoxic drug cisplatin. Infusion of hAFS cells in cisplatin mice improved renal function and limited tubular damage, although not to control level, and prolonged animal survival. Human AFS cells engrafted injured kidney predominantly in peritubular region without acquiring tubular epithelial markers. Human AFS cells exerted antiapoptotic effect, activated Akt, and stimulated proliferation of tubular cells possibly via local release of factors, including interleukin-6, vascular endothelial growth factor, and stromal cell-derived factor-1, which we documented in vitro to be produced by hAFS cells. The therapeutic potential of hAFS cells was enhanced by cell pretreatment with glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), which markedly ameliorated renal function and tubular injury by increasing stem cell homing to the tubulointerstitial compartment. By in vitro studies, GDNF increased hAFS cell production of growth factors, motility, and expression of receptors involved in cell homing and survival. These findings indicate that hAFS cells can promote functional recovery and contribute to renal regeneration in AKI mice via local production of mitogenic and prosurvival factors. The effects of hAFS cells can be remarkably enhanced by GDNF preconditioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1911-1923
Number of pages13
JournalStem cells and development
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jul 20 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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