Engineered EVs for Oxidative Stress Protection

Extracellular Vesicles

Tolomeo, Anna Maria, Santina Quarta, Alessandra Biasiolo, Mariagrazia Ruvoletto, Michela Pozzobon, Giada De Lazzari, Ricardo Malvicini et al. "Engineered EVs for Oxidative Stress Protection." Pharmaceuticals 14, no. 8 (2021): 703.

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are increasingly studied as vectors for drug delivery because they can transfer a variety of molecules across biological barriers. SerpinB3 is a serine protease inhibitor that has shown a protective anti-apoptotic function in a variety of stressful conditions. The aim of this study was to evaluate protection from oxidative stress-induced damage, using extracellular vesicles that overexpress SerpinB3 (EVs-SB3) in order to enhance the effect of extracellular vesicles on cellular homeostasis. EVs-SB3s were obtained from HepG2 cells engineered to overexpress SerpinB3 and they revealed significant proteomic changes, mostly characterized by a reduced expression of other proteins compared with EVs from non-engineered cells. These EV preparations showed a significantly higher protection from H2O2 induced oxidative stress in both the hepatoma cell line and in primary cardiomyocytes, compared to cells treated with naïve EVs or SerpinB3 alone, used at the same concentration. In conclusion, the induction of SerpinB3 transgene expression results in the secretion of EVs enriched with the protein product that exhibits enhanced cytoprotective activity, compared with naïve EVs or the nude SerpinB3 protein.

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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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