Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is a common syndrome in the clinic and has become a worldwide
public health problem. Renal Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury (IRI) is the most common cause of
AKI. So far, effective treatment is still lacking for renal IRI, resulting in a high mortality rate of AKI.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs), considered as a promising candidate for tissue repair and regenerative
medicine have aroused an increasing concern in recent years for the capacity of self-renewal and
multi-lineage differentiation. MSC-based therapy has drawn wide attention for its therapeutic potential
in renal IRI. The administrated MSCs can alleviate the renal IRI and improve the renal function for its
anti-inflammatory, immunomodulation properties. MSCs preferentially migrate into injured sites to
play the role of tissue repair. Furthermore, MSCs can modify the microenvironment to promote the
recovery of damaged renal tubular cells via paracrine factors. However, the poor kidney-directional
homing and poor survival under ischemia environment have limited their beneficial effects. Genetic
modification is an effective approach to increase the therapeutic action of MSCs. MSCs are modified
with exogenous genes to enhance their innate properties. Here we review the current knowledge of
gene-modified MSCs, their biological characteristics and applications in renal IRI.