Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are localized expansions of the abdominal aorta that develop due to chronic proteolytic disruption of the structural extracellular matrix (ECM) components (elastin and collagen) within the aorta wall. Major limitations in arresting or reversing AAAs lie in naturally poor and aberrant regeneration and repair of elastic matrix structures in the aorta wall. Bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) have emerged as a promising regenerative tool and their therapeutic effects are also known to be effected through their paracrine secretions. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) present in these secretions have emerged as critical cellular component in facilitating many therapeutic benefits of MSCs. EV treatment is thus potentially appealing as a stem cell-inspired cell-free approach to avoid possible phenotypic plasticity of MSCs in vivo. In this study, we investigated the thus far unknown effects of BM-MSC derived EVs on vascular elastic matrix repair in the context of AAA treatment. EVs isolated from BM-MSC source were characterized and their pro-regenerative and their anti-proteolytic effects were evaluated on our established in vitro experimental conditions derived from AAA rat model. Our studies revealed the efficacy of BM-MSC derived EVs in attenuating the proteolytic activity and also in imparting elastic matrix regenerative benefits under aneurysmal environment. Interestingly, compared to cell culture conditioned media (CCM), EVs demonstrated superior regenerative and anti-proteolytic benefits in a proteolytic injury culture model of AAA. From these studies, it appears that EVs derived from BM-MSCs could be beneficial in undertaking a reparative effort in AAA induced degeneration of vascular tissue. Statement of Significance Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) are localized, rupture-prone expansions of the aorta which result from loss of wall flexibility due to enzymatic breakdown of elastic fibers. There are no established alternatives to surgery, which possess high risk for the mostly elderly patients. Our previous studies have established the elastic regenerative and reparative effect of cell culture secretions derived from adult stem cell source. In this study, we propose to isolate extracellular vesicles (exosomes) from these secretions and evaluate their regenerative benefits in AAA smooth muscle cell culture model. This simple and innovative treatment approach has the potential to arrest or reverse AAA growth to rupture, not possible so far.
- Aortic aneurysms
- Extracellular matrix regeneration
- Extracellular vesicles