Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 428, Issue 1–2, pp 203–212 | Cite as

Icariin combined with human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells significantly improve the impaired kidney function in chronic renal failure

  • Wen Li
  • Li Wang
  • Xiaoqian Chu
  • Huantian Cui
  • Yuhong Bian


At present, the main therapy for chronic renal failure (CRF) is dialysis and renal transplantation, but neither obtains satisfactory results. Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (huMSCs) are isolated from the fetal umbilical cord which has a high self-renewal and multi-directional differentiation potential. Icariin (ICA), a kidney-tonifying Chinese Medicine can enhance the multipotency of huMSCs. Therefore, this work seeks to employ the use of ICA-treated huMSCs for the treatment of chronic renal failure. Blood urea nitrogen and creatinine (Cr) analyses showed amelioration of functional parameters in ICA-treated huMSCs for the treatment of CRF rats at 3, 7, and 14 days after transplantation. ICA-treated huMSCs can obviously increase the number of cells in injured renal tissues at 3, 7, and 14 days after transplantation by optical molecular imaging system. Hematoxylin-eosin staining demonstrated that ICA-treated huMSCs reduced the levels of fibrosis in CRF rats at 14 days after transplantation. Superoxide dismutase and Malondialdehyde analyses showed that ICA-treated huMSCs reduced the oxidative damage in CRF rats. Moreover, transplantation with ICA-treated huMSCs decreased inflammatory responses, promoted the expression of growth factors, and protected injured renal tissues. Taken together, our findings suggest that ICA-treated huMSCs could improve the kidney function in CRF rats.


Icariin Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells Chronic renal failure Kidney function 



This work was performed at Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China, and was supported by a Grant from the Tianjin Research Program of Application Foundation and Advanced Technology (15JCYBJC26100) and Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team University (PCSIRT): IRT_14R41.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wen Li
    • 1
  • Li Wang
    • 2
  • Xiaoqian Chu
    • 3
  • Huantian Cui
    • 4
  • Yuhong Bian
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Medicine, State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology, Key Laboratory of Tumor Microenvironment and Neurovascular RegulationNankai UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.Tianjin Second People’s HospitalTianjinChina
  3. 3.Tianjin People’s HospitalTianjinChina
  4. 4.Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese MedicineTianjinChina

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