Normal distribution and medullary-to-cortical shift of Nestin-expressing cells in acute renal ischemia
Intermediate Filament Proteins
Nerve Tissue Proteins
Nestin, a marker of multi-lineage stem and progenitor cells, is a member of intermediate filament family, which is expressed in neuroepithelial stem cells, several embryonic cell types, including mesonephric mesenchyme, endothelial cells of developing blood vessels, and in the adult kidney. We used Nestin-green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic mice to characterize its expression in normal and post-ischemic kidneys. Nestin-GFP-expressing cells were detected in large clusters within the papilla, along the vasa rectae, and, less prominently, in the glomeruli and juxta-glomerular arterioles. In mice subjected to 30 min bilateral renal ischemia, glomerular, endothelial, and perivascular cells showed increased Nestin expression. In the post-ischemic period, there was an increase in fluorescence intensity with no significant changes in the total number of Nestin-GFP-expressing cells. Time-lapse fluorescence microscopy performed before and after ischemia ruled out the possibility of engraftment by the circulating Nestin-expressing cells, at least within the first 3 h post-ischemia. Incubation of non-perfused kidney sections resulted in a medullary-to-cortical migration of Nestin-GFP-positive cells with the rate of expansion of their front averaging 40 microm/30 min during the first 3 h and was detectable already after 30 min of incubation. Explant matrigel cultures of the kidney and aorta exhibited sprouting angiogenesis with cells co-expressing Nestin and endothelial marker, Tie-2. In conclusion, several lines of circumstantial evidence identify a sub-population of Nestin-expressing cells with the mural cells, which are recruited in the post-ischemic period to migrate from the medulla toward the renal cortex. These migrating Nestin-positive cells may be involved in the process of post-ischemic tissue regeneration.