Amnion epithelial cells are an effective source of factor H and prevent kidney complement deposition in factor H-deficient mice

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Complement factor H (FH) is the main plasma regulator of the alternative pathway of complement. Genetic and acquired abnormalities in FH cause uncontrolled complement activation amplifying, with the consequent accumulation of complement components on the renal glomeruli. This leads to conditions such as C3 glomerulopathy (C3G) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS). There is no effective therapy for these diseases. Half of the patients progress to end-stage renal disease and the condition recurs frequently in transplanted kidneys. Combined liver/kidney transplantation is a valid option for these patients, but the risks of the procedure and donor organ shortages hamper its clinical application. Therefore, there is an urgent need for alternative strategies for providing a normal FH supply. Human amnion epithelial cells (hAEC) have stem cell characteristics, including the capability to differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells in vivo.Here, we administered hAEC into the livers of newborn Cfh-/- mice, which spontaneously developed glomerular complement deposition and renal lesions resembling human C3G. hAEC engrafted at low levels in the livers of Cfh-/- mice and produced sufficient human FH to prevent complement activation and glomerular C3 and C9 deposition. However, long-term engraftment was not achieved, and eventually hAEC elicited a humoral immune response in immunocompetent Cfh-/- mice.hAEC cell therapy could be a valuable therapeutic option for patients undergoing kidney transplantation in whom post-transplant immunosuppression may protect allogeneic hAEC from rejection, while allogeneic cells provide normal FH to prevent disease recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332
JournalStem Cell Res. Ther.
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 10 2021


  • Amnion
  • Animals
  • Complement C3/genetics
  • Complement Factor H/genetics
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Mice


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