Effects of obesity on reparative function of human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells on ischemic murine kidneys

Nattawat Klomjit, Sabena M. Conley, Xiang Yang Zhu, Ishran M. Sadiq, Yaara Libai, James D. Krier, Christopher M. Ferguson, Kyra L. Jordan, Hui Tang, Amir Lerman, Lilach O. Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Obesity is a health burden that impairs cellular processes. Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) are endowed with reparative properties and can ameliorate renal injury. Obesity impairs human MSC function in-vitro, but its effect on their in-vivo reparative potency remains unknown.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Abdominal adipose tissue-derived MSC were harvested from patients without ('lean') or with obesity ('obese') (body mass index <30 or ≥30 kg/m 2, respectively) during kidney donation or bariatric surgery, respectively. MSC (5 × 10 5/200 µL) or vehicle were then injected into 129S1 mice 2 weeks after renal artery stenosis (RAS) or sham surgery (n = 8/group). Two weeks later, mice underwent magnetic resonance imaging to assess renal perfusion and oxygenation in-vivo, and kidneys then harvested for ex-vivo studies.

RESULTS: Similar numbers of lean and obese-MSCs engrafted in stenotic mouse kidneys. Vehicle-treated RAS mice had reduced stenotic-kidney cortical and medullary perfusion and oxygenation. Lean (but not obese) MSC normalized ischemic kidney cortical perfusion, whereas both effectively mitigated renal hypoxia. Serum creatinine and blood pressure were elevated in RAS mice and lowered only by lean-MSC. Both types of MSCs alleviated stenotic-kidney fibrosis, but lean-MSC more effectively than obese-MSC. MSC senescence-associated beta-gal activity, and gene expression of p16, p21, and vascular endothelial growth factor correlated with recipient kidney perfusion and tissue injury, linking MSC characteristics with their in-vivo reparative capacity.

DISCUSSION: Human obesity impairs the reparative properties of adipose-tissue-derived MSCs, possibly by inducing cellular senescence. Dysfunction and senescence of the endogenous MSC repair system in patients with obesity may warrant targeting interventions to restore MSC vitality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1222-1233
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partly supported by NIH grant numbers DK120292, DK122734, and AG062104. LOL is an advisor to AstraZeneca, CureSpec, and Butterfly Biosciences. All authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.


  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Kidney/pathology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells/metabolism
  • Mice
  • Obesity/metabolism
  • Renal Artery Obstruction/metabolism
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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