Cell therapies aim at differentiation of stem cells into the specific cell type required to repair damaged or destroyed cells or tissues. Over recent years, cell therapy has been introduced in a variety of application areas, including cardiovascular repair, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and renal repair. Multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), often referred to as mesenchymal stem cells, are of particular interest as a cell therapy model, as this is one of the few cell types that are on the brink of entering the clinical arena in different areas of application. MSCs can be differentiated in vitro and in vivo into various cell types of mesenchymal origin such as bone, fat and cartilage. They have important effects on the innate and adaptive immune system and possess striking anti-inflammatory properties that make them attractive for potential use in diseases characterized by autoimmunity and inflammation. In addition, MSCs have been shown to migrate to sites of tissue injury and to enhance repair by secreting anti-fibrotic and pro-angiogenic factors. In this review, evidence for the renoprotective mechanisms of MSCs as well as their therapeutic possibilities and potential hazards in acute and chronic renal disease and allograft rejection is summarized.