Stem cells show promise in the treatment of AKI but do not survive long term after injection. However, organ repair has been achieved by extending and attaching the omentum, a fatty tissue lying above the stomach containing stem cells, to various organs. To examine whether fusing the omentum to a subtotally nephrectomized kidney could slow the progression of CKD, we used two groups of rats: an experimental group undergoing 5/6 nephrectomy only and a control group undergoing 5/6 nephrectomy and complete omentectomy. Polydextran gel particles were administered intraperitoneally before suture only in the experimental group to facilitate the fusion of the omentum to the injured kidney. After 12 weeks, experimental rats exhibited omentum fused to the remnant kidney and had lower plasma creatinine and urea nitrogen levels; less glomerulosclerosis, tubulointerstitial injury, and extracellular matrix; and reduced thickening of basement membranes compared with controls. A fusion zone formed between the injured kidney and the omentumcontained abundant stem cells expressing stemcell antigen-1,Wilms' tumor 1 (WT-1), and CD34, suggesting active, healing tissue. Furthermore, kidney extracts from experimental rats showed increases in expression levels of growth factors involved in renal repair, the number of proliferating cells, especially at the injured edge, the number of WT-1-positive cells in the glomeruli, and WT-1 gene expression. These results suggest that contact between the omentumand injured kidney slows the progression of CKD in the remnant organ, and this effect appears to be mediated by the presence of omental stem cells and their secretory products.
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