Melatonin-Primed Mesenchymal Stem Cells-Derived Small Extracellular Vesicles Alleviated Neurogenic Erectile Dysfunction by Reversing Phenotypic Modulation

Extracellular Vesicles

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is an adverse side effect of pelvic surgery with no effective treatment. In this study, we explored whether melatonin could improve the therapeutic effects of small extracellular vesicles (sEVs), derived from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), on cavernous nerve injury (CNI) ED and investigated the underlying mechanisms. The sEVs from melatonin-pretreated MSCs (MT-EVs) and MSCs (NC-EVs) were isolated and applied to CNI ED. Transplantation of MT-EVs remarkably increased erectile function and reduced phenotypic modulation in CNI ED rats. MT-EVs increased Calponin 1 and SMA and decreased OPN, Vimentin, and cell migration capabilities. The therapeutic effects of MT-EVs were superior to those of NC-EVs. Sequencing implied that miR-10a-3p was enriched in MT-EVs, and directly targeted the protein kinase inhibitor α (PKIA). After the suppression of miR-10a-3p, the therapeutic actions of MT-EVs were abolished but were rescued by PKIA. Similarly, RhoA/ROCK was inhibited by MT-EVs, but this action was reversed by suppressing miR-10a-3p, accompanied by corresponding changes in PKIA. In conclusion, transplantation of MT-EVs could significantly alleviate CNI ED. MT-EVs may relieve the phenotypic modulation of the corpora cavernosum smooth muscle cells via the miR-10a-3p/PKIA/RhoA/ROCK signaling axis. These nanovesicles should be potential therapeutic vectors or bioactive materials for CNI ED.

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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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