Bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells and endothelial cells may contribute to endothelial repair in the kidney immediately after ischemia-reperfusion.
In ischemic acute kidney injury, renal blood flow is decreased. We have previously shown that reperfused, transplanted kidneys exhibited ischemic injury to vascular endothelium and that preservation of peritubular capillary endothelial integrity may be critical to recovery from ischemic injury. We hypothesized that bone marrow-derived (BMD) endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) might play an important role in renal functional recovery after ischemia. We tested this hypothesis in recipients of cadaveric renal allografts before and for 2 weeks after transplantation. We found that the numbers of circulating CD34-positive EPCs and CD146-positive endothelial cells (ECs) decreased immediately after ischemia-reperfusion. In renal allograft tissues obtained 1 hr after reperfusion, CD34-positive cells were more frequently observed along the endothelial lining of peritubular capillaries compared with non-ischemic controls. Moreover, 0-17.5% of peritubular capillary ECs were of recipient origin. In contrast, only 0.1-0.7% of tubule cells were of recipient origin. Repeat graft biopsy samples obtained 35 and 73 days after transplant did not contain capillary ECs of recipient origin, whereas 1.4% and 12.1% of tubule cells, respectively, were of recipient origin. These findings suggest that BMD EPCs and ECs may contribute to endothelial repair immediately after ischemia-reperfusion.