Diabetic kidney disease induces transcriptome alterations associated with angiogenesis activity in human mesenchymal stromal cells

Xiaohui Bian, Sabena M. Conley, Alfonso Eirin, Eric A. Zimmerman Zuckerman, Anastasia L. Smith, Cody C. Gowan, Zachary K. Snow, Tambi Jarmi, Houssam Farres, Young M. Erben, Albert G. Hakaim, Matthew A. Dietz, Abba C. Zubair, Saranya P. Wyles, Joy V. Wolfram, Lilach O. Lerman, La Tonya J. Hickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Therapeutic interventions that optimize angiogenic activities may reduce rates of end-stage kidney disease, critical limb ischemia, and lower extremity amputations in individuals with diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Infusion of autologous mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) is a promising novel therapy to rejuvenate vascular integrity. However, DKD-related factors, including hyperglycemia and uremia, might alter MSC angiogenic repair capacity in an autologous treatment approach.

METHODS: To explore the angiogenic activity of MSC in DKD, the transcriptome of adipose tissue-derived MSC obtained from DKD subjects was compared to age-matched controls without diabetes or kidney impairment. Next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) was performed on MSC (DKD n = 29; Controls n = 9) to identify differentially expressed (DE; adjusted p < 0.05, |log 2fold change|> 1) messenger RNA (mRNA) and microRNA (miRNA) involved in angiogenesis (GeneCards). Paracrine-mediated angiogenic repair capacity of MSC conditioned medium (MSCcm) was assessed in vitro using human umbilical vein endothelial cells incubated in high glucose and indoxyl sulfate for a hyperglycemic, uremic state.

RESULTS: RNA-seq analyses revealed 133 DE mRNAs (77 upregulated and 56 down-regulated) and 208 DE miRNAs (119 up- and 89 down-regulated) in DKD-MSC versus Control-MSC. Interestingly, miRNA let-7a-5p, which regulates angiogenesis and participates in DKD pathogenesis, interacted with 5 angiogenesis-associated mRNAs (transgelin/TAGLN, thrombospondin 1/THBS1, lysyl oxidase-like 4/LOXL4, collagen 4A1/COL4A1 and collagen 8A1/COL8A1). DKD-MSCcm incubation with injured endothelial cells improved tube formation capacity, enhanced migration, reduced adhesion molecules E-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 mRNA expression in endothelial cells. Moreover, angiogenic repair effects did not differ between treatment groups (DKD-MSCcm vs. Control-MSCcm).

CONCLUSIONS: MSC from individuals with DKD show angiogenic transcriptome alterations compared to age-matched controls. However, angiogenic repair potential may be preserved, supporting autologous MSC interventions to treat conditions requiring enhanced angiogenic activities such as DKD, diabetic foot ulcers, and critical limb ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number49
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 22 2023


  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Ischemic limb disease
  • Mesenchymal stromal cells
  • Regenerative medicine
  • MicroRNAs/genetics
  • Humans
  • Transcriptome
  • Diabetic Nephropathies/genetics
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells/metabolism
  • Chronic Limb-Threatening Ischemia
  • RNA, Messenger/metabolism
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/metabolism
  • Protein-Lysine 6-Oxidase/genetics
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic/genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus/metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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