Studies have demonstrated that microvesicles (MVs) derived from human Wharton's Jelly mesenchymal stromal cells (hWJMSCs) could ameliorate renal ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI); however, the underlying mechanisms were not clear yet. Here, MVs were isolated and injected intravenously into rats immediately after ischemia of the left kidney, and Erk1/2 activator hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) or inhibitor U0126 was administrated. Tubular cell proliferation and apoptosis were identified by Ki67 or terminal-deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated nick end labeling immunostaining. Masson's tri-chrome straining and alpha-smooth muscle actin staining were used for assessing renal fibrosis. The mRNA or protein expression in the kidney was measured by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR or Western blot, respectively. The total collagen concentration was also determined. In vitro, NRK-52E cells that treated with MVs under hypoxia injury and with HGF or U0126 administration were used, and cell cycle analysis was performed. The effects of hWJMSC-MVs on enhancing the proliferation and mitigating the apoptosis of renal cells, abrogating IRI-induced fibrosis, improving renal function, decreasing collagen deposition, and altering the expression levels of epithelial–mesenchymal transition and cell cycle-related proteins in IRI rats were found. In vitro experiment showed that hWJMSC-MVs could induce G2/M cell cycle arrest and decrease the expression of collagen deposition-related proteins in NRK-52E cells after 24 or 48 h. However, U0126 treatment reversed these effects. In conclusion, MVs derived from hWJMSCs ameliorate IR-induced renal fibrosis by inducing G2/M cell cycle arrest via Erk1/2 signaling.

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