Pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of extracellular vesicles administered intravenously and intranasally to Macaca nemestrina

Extracellular Vesicles

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have potential in disease treatment since they can be loaded with therapeutic molecules and engineered for retention by specific tissues. However, questions remain on optimal dosing, administration and pharmacokinetics. Previous studies have addressed biodistribution and pharmacokinetics in rodents, but little evidence is available for larger animals. Here, we investigated the pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of Expi293F‐derived EVs labelled with a highly sensitive nanoluciferase reporter (palmGRET) in a non‐human primate model (Macaca nemestrina), comparing intravenous (IV) and intranasal (IN) administration over a 125‐fold dose range. We report that EVs administered IV had longer circulation times in plasma than previously reported in mice and were detectable in cerebrospinal fluid after 30–60 min. EV association with peripheral blood mononuclear cells, especially B‐cells, was observed as early as 1‐min post‐administration. EVs were detected in liver and spleen within 1 h of IV administration. However, IN delivery was minimal, suggesting that pretreatment approaches may be needed in large animals. Furthermore, EV circulation times strongly decreased after repeated IV administration, possibly due to immune responses and with clear implications for xenogeneic EV‐based therapeutics. We hope that our findings from this baseline study in macaques will help to inform future research and therapeutic development of EVs.

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Recent Publications

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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