Zhang Y, Zhang Y, Chopp M, Pang H, Zhang ZG, Mahmood A, and Xiong Y. MiR-17-92 Cluster-Enriched Exosomes Derived from Human Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Improve Tissue and Functional Recovery in Rats after Traumatic Brain Injury. J Neurotrauma 2021; 38(11):1535-1550.
Journal of neurotrauma
Exosomes play an important role in intercellular communication by delivering microribonucleic acids (miRNAs) to recipient cells. Previous studies have demonstrated that multi-potent mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC)-derived exosomes improve functional recovery after experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study was performed to determine efficacy of miR-17-92 cluster-enriched exosomes (Exo-17-92) harvested from human bone marrow MSCs transfected with a miR-17-92 cluster plasmid in enhancing tissue and neurological recovery compared with exosomes derived from MSCs transfected with an empty plasmid vector (Exo-empty) for treatment of TBI. Adult male rats underwent a unilateral moderate cortical contusion. Animals received a single intravenous injection of miR-17-92 cluster-enriched exosomes (100 μg/rat, approximately 3.75x10(11) particles, Exo-17-92) or control exosomes (100 μg/rat, Exo-empty) or Vehicle (phosphate-buffered solution) one day after injury. A battery of neurological functional tests was performed weekly after TBI for five weeks. Spatial learning and memory were measured on days 31-35 after TBI using the Morris water maze test. All animals were sacrificed five weeks after injury. Their brains were processed for histopathological and immunohistochemical analyses of lesion volume, cell loss, angiogenesis, neurogenesis, and neuroinflammation. Compared with Vehicle, both Exo-17-92 and Exo-empty treatments significantly improved sensorimotor and cognitive function, reduced neuroinflammation and hippocampal neuronal cell loss, promoted angiogenesis and neurogenesis without altering the lesion volume. Moreover, Exo-17-92 treatment exhibited a significantly more robust therapeutic effect on improvement in functional recovery by reducing neuroinflammation and cell loss, enhancing angiogenesis and neurogenesis than did Exo-empty treatment. Exosomes enriched with miR-17-92 cluster have a significantly better effect on improving functional recovery after TBI compared with Exo-empty, likely by reducing neuroinflammation and enhancing endogenous angiogenesis and neurogenesis. Engineering specific miRNA in exosomes may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for management of unilateral moderate cortical contusion TBI.