Endothelial Progenitor Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles: Potential Therapeutic Application in Tissue Repair and Regeneration

Extracellular Vesicles

Terriaca, Sonia, Elena Fiorelli, Maria Giovanna Scioli, Giulia Fabbri, Gabriele Storti, Valerio Cervelli, and Augusto Orlandi. "Endothelial Progenitor Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles: Potential Therapeutic Application in Tissue Repair and Regeneration." International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 12 (2021): 6375.

Recently, many studies investigated the role of a specific type of stem cell named the endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) in tissue regeneration and repair. EPCs represent a heterogeneous population of mononuclear cells resident in the adult bone marrow. EPCs can migrate and differentiate in injured sites or act in a paracrine way. Among the EPCs’ secretome, extracellular vesicles (EVs) gained relevance due to their possible use for cell-free biological therapy. They are more biocompatible, less immunogenic, and present a lower oncological risk compared to cell-based options. EVs can efficiently pass the pulmonary filter and deliver to target tissues different molecules, such as micro-RNA, growth factors, cytokines, chemokines, and non-coding RNAs. Their effects are often analogous to their cellular counterparts, and EPC-derived EVs have been tested in vitro and on animal models to treat several medical conditions, including ischemic stroke, myocardial infarction, diabetes, and acute kidney injury. EPC-derived EVs have also been studied for bone, brain, and lung regeneration and as carriers for drug delivery. This review will discuss the pre-clinical evidence regarding EPC-derived EVs in the different disease models and regenerative settings. Moreover, we will discuss the translation of their use into clinical practice and the possible limitations of this process.

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Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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