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      International Journal of Nanomedicine (submit here)

      This international, peer-reviewed Open Access journal by Dove Medical Press focuses on the application of nanotechnology in diagnostics, therapeutics, and drug delivery systems throughout the biomedical field. Sign up for email alerts here.

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      Is Open Access

      In vitro evaluation of endothelial exosomes as carriers for small interfering ribonucleic acid delivery


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          Exosomes, one subpopulation of nanosize extracellular vesicles derived from multivesicular bodies, ranging from 30 to 150 nm in size, emerged as promising carriers for small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) delivery, as they are capable of transmitting molecular messages between cells through carried small noncoding RNAs, messenger RNAs, deoxyribonucleic acids, and proteins. Endothelial cells are involved in a number of important biological processes, and are a major source of circulating exosomes. In this study, we prepared exosomes from endothelial cells and evaluated their capacity to deliver siRNA into primary endothelial cells. Exosomes were isolated and purified by sequential centrifugation and ultracentrifugation from cultured mouse aortic endothelial cells. Similar to exosome particles from other cell sources, endothelial exosomes are nanometer-size vesicles, examined by both the NanoSight instrument and transmission electron microscopy. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analysis confirmed the expression of two exosome markers: CD9 and CD63. Flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy studies demonstrated that endothelial exosomes were heterogeneously distributed within cells. In a gene-silencing study with luciferase-expressing endothelial cells, exosomes loaded with siRNA inhibited luciferase expression by more than 40%. In contrast, siRNA alone and control siRNA only suppressed luciferase expression by less than 15%. In conclusion, we demonstrated that endothelial exosomes have the capability to accommodate and deliver short foreign nucleic acids into endothelial cells.

          Most cited references15

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          Exosome: from internal vesicle of the multivesicular body to intercellular signaling device.

          Exosomes are small membrane vesicles that are secreted by a multitude of cell types as a consequence of fusion of multivesicular late endosomes/lysosomes with the plasma membrane. Depending on their origin, exosomes can play roles in different physiological processes. Maturing reticulocytes externalize obsolete membrane proteins such as the transferrin receptor by means of exosomes, whereas activated platelets release exosomes whose function is not yet known. Exosomes are also secreted by cytotoxic T cells, and these might ensure specific and efficient targeting of cytolytic substances to target cells. Antigen presenting cells, such as B lymphocytes and dendritic cells, secrete MHC class-I- and class-II-carrying exosomes that stimulate T cell proliferation in vitro. In addition, dendritic-cell-derived exosomes, when used as a cell-free vaccine, can eradicate established murine tumors. Although the precise physiological target(s) and functions of exosomes remain largely to be resolved, follicular dendritic cells (accessory cells in the germinal centers of secondary lymphoid organs) have recently been shown to bind B-lymphocyte-derived exosomes at their cell surface, which supports the notion that exosomes play an immunoregulatory role. Finally, since exosomes are derived from multivesicular bodies, their molecular composition might provide clues to the mechanism of protein and lipid sorting in endosomes.
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            Exosomes for drug delivery - a novel application for the mesenchymal stem cell.

            Exosomes are the most extensively characterized class of secreted membrane vesicles that carry proteins and RNAs for intercellular communication. They are increasingly seen as possible alternatives to liposomes as drug delivery vehicles. Like liposomes, they could deliver their cargo across the plasma membrane and provide a barrier against premature transformation and elimination. In addition, these naturally-occurring secreted membrane vesicles are less toxic and better tolerated in the body as evidenced by their ubiquitous presence in biological fluids, and have an intrinsic homing ability. They are also amenable to in vivo and in vitro loading of therapeutic agents, and membrane modifications to enhance tissue-specific homing. Here we propose human mesenchymal stem cells as the ideal cell source of exosomes for drug delivery. Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation for various disease indications has been extensively tested and shown to be safe in numerous clinical trials. These cells are also prolific producers of immunologically inert exosomes. Immortalization of these cells does not compromise the quantity or quality of exosome production, thus enabling infinite and reproducible exosome production from a single cell clone. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Electroporation-induced siRNA precipitation obscures the efficiency of siRNA loading into extracellular vesicles.

              Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are specialised endogenous carriers of proteins and nucleic acids and are involved in intercellular communication. EVs are therefore proposed as candidate drug delivery systems for the delivery of nucleic acids and other macromolecules. However, the preparation of EV-based drug delivery systems is hampered by the lack of techniques to load the vesicles with nucleic acids. In this work we have now characterised in detail the use of an electroporation method for this purpose. When EVs were electroporated with fluorescently labelled siRNA, siRNA retention was comparable with previously published results (20-25% based on fluorescence spectroscopy and fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy), and electroporation with unlabelled siRNA resulted in significant siRNA retention in the EV pellet as measured by RT-PCR. Remarkably, when siRNA was electroporated in the absence of EVs, a similar or even greater siRNA retention was measured. Nanoparticle tracking analysis and confocal microscopy showed extensive formation of insoluble siRNA aggregates after electroporation, which could be dramatically reduced by addition of EDTA. Other strategies to reduce aggregate formation, including the use of cuvettes with conductive polymer electrodes and the use of an acidic citrate electroporation buffer, resulted in a more efficient reduction of siRNA precipitation than EDTA. However, under these conditions, siRNA retention was below 0.05% and no significant differences in siRNA retention could be measured between samples electroporated in the presence or absence of EVs. Our results show that electroporation of EVs with siRNA is accompanied by extensive siRNA aggregate formation, which may cause overestimation of the amount of siRNA actually loaded into EVs. Moreover, our data clearly illustrate that electroporation is far less efficient than previously described, and highlight the necessity for alternative methods to prepare siRNA-loaded EVs. © 2013.

                Author and article information

                Int J Nanomedicine
                Int J Nanomedicine
                International Journal of Nanomedicine
                International Journal of Nanomedicine
                Dove Medical Press
                03 September 2014
                : 9
                : 4223-4230
                [1 ]Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA
                [2 ]Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jiang He, Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, University of Virginia, PO Box 801339, 480 Ray C Hunt Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA, Tel +1 434 243 1011, Fax +1 434 942 9435, Email jh6qv@ 123456virginia.edu
                © 2014 Banizs et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Molecular medicine
                extracellular vesicles,exosomes,gene delivery,sirna,endothelium
                Molecular medicine
                extracellular vesicles, exosomes, gene delivery, sirna, endothelium


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