Background: The ‘epidemic’ diffusion of chronic kidney disease (CKD) needs
the development of new therapeutic approaches to slow down the progression to end-stage
renal disease. Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs) are promising tools for the treatment of
many human diseases as they promote the repair of damaged tissues. They were also suggested
as therapy to repair renal tissue after an injury. Strategies using EPCs to induce a reparative
process with functional restoring of a diseased kidney or to delay CKD are of two
types: direct stem cells infusion or stimulating endogenous release of EPCs. The repair
process following endothelial damage occurs in three steps: 1) mobilization from bone marrow;
2) homing on the sites of vascular injury; 3) incorporation of the endothelium into the
injured blood vessels.
Objective: In this narrative review we pointed our view to the role of EPCs in endothelial
repair and the potential in retarding the progression to renal function loss.
Conclusions: Physicians need the development of new preventive strategies for detecting
patients at risk and discover renal damage. In this way they could slow, by a conservative
therapy, the evolution of renal disease and decrease associated morbidity. EPCs have instead
well recognized reparative capabilities in many organs. We summarized some recent preclinical
and clinical models of EPCs mobilization during CKD and we emphasized the potential
use of EPCs to slow the progression of renal disease.
Keywords: Endothelium, kidney, chronic kidney disease, EPCs, CKD, HSCs.
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