Muscle functional recovery is driven by extracellular vesicles combined with muscle extracellular matrix in a volumetric muscle loss murine model

Extracellular Vesicles

Biological scaffolds derived from decellularized tissues are being investigated as a promising approach to repair volumetric muscle losses (VML). Indeed, extracellular matrix (ECM) from decellularized tissues is highly biocompatible and mimics the original tissue. However, the development of fibrosis and the muscle stiffness still represents a major problem. Intercellular signals mediating tissue repair are conveyed via extracellular vesicles (EVs), biologically active nanoparticles secreted by the cells. This work aimed at using muscle ECM and human EVs derived from Wharton Jelly mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC EVs) to boost tissue regeneration in a VML murine model. Mice transplanted with muscle ECM and treated with PBS or MSC EVs were analyzed after 7 and 30 days. Flow cytometry, tissue analysis, qRT-PCR and physiology test were performed. We demonstrated that angiogenesis and myogenesis were enhanced while fibrosis was reduced after EV treatment. Moreover, the inflammation was directed toward tissue repair. M2-like, pro-regenerative macrophages were significantly increased in the MSC EVs treated group compared to control. Strikingly, the histological improvements were associated with enhanced functional recovery. These results suggest that human MSC EVs can be a naturally-derived boost able to ameliorate the efficacy of tissue-specific ECM in muscle regeneration up to the restored tissue function.

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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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