Department: Medicine, University of Ottawa
A major interest of our laboratory is the regenerative potential of human cord blood-derived endothelial progenitor cells (ECFCs) and their extracellular vesicles in animal models of acute kidney injury (AKI). We have determined that ECFCs release exosomes that are enriched in miR-486-5p, which targets the PTEN-Akt pathway. In mice with ischemia/reperfusion AKI, we have shown that infusion of ECFC exosomes protects against kidney injury, via transfer of miR-4865p to kidney cells, which prevents apoptosis/inflammation. A second area of interest is in the antifibrotic effects of human endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in diabetic nephropathy, and their potential use in human trials. Finally, our laboratory has a longstanding interest in the role of the intrarenal renin-angiotensin system in kidney disease progression, with a recent focus on the protective enzyme ACE2.