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Exosomes As A Novel Therapy For Treatment And Prevention Of Diseases

Exosomes are incredibly small structures outside our cells which were previously thought of as junk products. Today, the potential role of exosomes in regenerative medicine is now being extensively explored, especially for various abnormalities such as neurodegenerative disorders and cancer.

So why are exosomes considered a novel therapy for the treatment and prevention of diseases? While exosome research is relatively new, it seems to be quite promising for applications to diverse bodily issues like infectious diseases and hair loss due to its similarity to mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes. With MSC-exosome therapy still undergoing clinical trials, exosomes used for therapy are yet to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration. 

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Why Research Is Shifting To Exosome Treatment 

Exosomes are products seen on most bodily fluids, which are currently derived from mesenchymal stem cells. They were first thought of as junk products, but exosomes are now being clinically explored as therapeutic vehicles to deliver drugs or genetic materials that can help stimulate the body’s natural regenerative capacity.

Currently, research in molecular medicine is shifting toward the use of mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes in addressing certain disorders due to its similarity in therapeutic effects of MSCs but added improvements such as:

  • Increased levels of growth factors compared to stem cells
  • Delivery of therapeutic factors being more targeted in exosomes than MSCs due to their specific cell-binding sites
  • Low immunogenicity of exosomes since they’re acellular, compared to cell-based MSCs
  • High capacity for tissue repair

How Exosomes Work 

Exosomes are agents responsible for regulating the intercellular signal transduction pathway. They bud off from the cell’s plasma membrane , or the semi-permeable covering of cells that protect cellular components from the outside environment, to deliver compounds such as RNA to other cells through which they specifically bind into. Exosome research is directed towards exploiting this targeted delivery, making exosomes potential vehicles that can deliver drugs or other therapeutic compounds to parts of the body.

Benefits Of Exosome Treatment 

The function of exosomes stems from the fact that they’re capable of being a therapeutic vehicle that’s capable of delivering compounds to target cells into which they can specifically bind. As such, the potential role of exosomes as a new treatment modality in molecular medicine is undeniable.

They can serve critical roles in microbial infection such as being potential biological markers, bridges to promote further infection, and they can also act to stop infections as well. They can also be a complementary diagnostic tool for cancer and blood foundation laboratories by being biological markers that can signal the presence of cancer cells. 

They also have multiple roles in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and thus may also be helpful in its diagnosis and therapy. They can also serve as therapies for traumatic brain injury, peripheral nerve injury, cartilage and bone tissue regeneration, and hair growth.

1) Role In Microbial Infection

Exosomes serve critical roles in modulating the processes in microbial infection, acting both as a support and combatant of infection, thus putting into perspective their potential role as drug targets. Their expression is also shown to differ in infected and uninfected cells, also putting into perspective their potential role as biological markers in infection.

Exosomes may promote and exacerbate infections.Exosomes can act as bridges that can transmit pathogenic molecules from one cell to another cell, helping spread the infection more effectively, such as in the case of exosomes from cells infected with human herpesvirus-6 that contain the infectious agents that can be transferred to another cell.Exosomes can also help infectious agents escape immune system functions.Exosomes can also induce the death of immune cells through the process of apoptosis or programmed cell death.
Exosomes may protect the cells from further infection and act as an anti-infection agent.Exosomes can inhibit infection by directly inhibiting the infectious process, such as in the case of semen exosomes inhibiting the viral RNA reverse transcriptional activity of HIV-1.Exosomes can stimulate the immune response by acting in the process of antigen presentation to improve the functioning of immune cells such as macrophages, NK cells, T-cells, and B-cells.
Infected and uninfected cells differ in their expression of exosomes.The numbers of exosomes generated differ in infected and uninfected cells. For example, in Mycobacterium bovis infection, the trend in microbial load is that microbial numbers peak at day 10 and gradually decline at day 60. Meanwhile, exosome concentrations in serum also reflect this trend, with peaks being 100-times higher than the concentration of exosomes in uninfected cells. Due to this observation, it’s hypothesized that infection induces the secretion of exosomes, showing a trend in exosome concentrations consistent with the microbial burden.The membrane structure and exosome content also differ in infected and uninfected cells. For example, exosomes of rats with leptospirosis have increased membrane protein alanyl aminopeptidase in their structures compared to uninfected exosomes. Another example is in filariasis where there’s an increased concentration of ALT-2 protein as exosome content.

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2) Role In Tumor Progression And Metastasis

Exosomes play a critical role in tumor progression and metastasis, the medical term used to define the spread of tumor cells to other parts other than the original body part it has developed into. Exosomes can act as vehicles that can deliver the cancer cells towards sites of metastasis. 

Tumor progression may also be exacerbated by exosomes through facilitating the delivery of special miRNAs that, for example, can protect cancer cells from the mechanisms of the body to combat them such as oxidative stress injury. Exosomes can also promote angiogenesis or the production of new blood vessels. This is an important process in further promoting the aggressiveness of cancer cells.

Through these observations, exosome research is mainly directed towards studying the possible roles of exosomes in the management and diagnosis of different types of cancers, with such applications including the following:

  • Exosomes may play a role as biological markers to aid in the diagnosis of different types of cancers;
  • Exosomes may play a role in the targeted tumor suppression effects of drugs by delivering them specifically to tumor cells; and
  • Exosomes may play a role in promoting immune responses against cancer by delivering cancer antigens to immune cells.

3) Therapy For Alzheimer’s Disease

Exosomes may also be used as a biological marker in Alzheimer’s disease. A study has shown that tau protein, a protein involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, is abnormally induced to have higher phosphorylation at Thr181 through exosomal tau. This epitope (Thr181) may thus be used as an indicator for the possibility of a patient developing Alzheimer’s disease. 

Exosomes also play both harmful and beneficial effects when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. They can promote the spread and improved functioning of Aβ and P-tau (proteins that are implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease) and can induce the death of neurons. On the other hand, they can promote the degradation and neutralization of Aβ to serve as a protective factor against Alzheimer’s disease.

Exosomes may also be used as therapeutic vehicles to deliver drugs against Alzheimer’s disease which may act through inhibition of the phosphorylation of the tau protein and to prevent the death of neurons.

4) Therapy For Traumatic Brain Injury

The promising beneficial effects of MSC-derived exosome therapy in the regeneration of neurons (brain cells) are explored. It was shown that exosome therapy is capable of promoting the production of new neuron cells and may also induce brain remodeling. Advantages of exosome therapy over other regenerative therapies include:

  • The ability of exosomes to cross the blood-brain barrier (the protective barrier that inhibits substances or infectious agents from reaching the brain) and deliver their therapeutic effects;
  • The exosome therapy being minimally invasive and administered via intradermal or intravenous injections;
  • The exosome therapy being less likely to produce tumors and less likely to induce immune responses;
  • The exosome products may be stored for a long time without loss of function due to them having a long shelf life and long half-lives; and
  • The exosome therapy doesn’t promote microvascular embolism.

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5) Therapy For Peripheral Nerve Injury

Schwann cell-derived exosomes play a role in nerve regeneration through their cargoes (the compounds that exosomes carry within them) such as miRNA that play a role in promoting axonal growth through their actions in cytoskeletal organization and vesicle transport. This puts into perspective the possibility to forgo the invasive procedure of grafting Schwann cells of the brain to culture cells and consider the development of exosomes as a therapy for peripheral nerve injury.

A clinical study on rat models also was able to determine that the optimal dose of exosome treatment against peripheral nerve injury is 100 ug. This dosage comparably yielded the best results in terms of improved sensorimotor and cognitive function in rats with induced traumatic brain injury through moderate cortical contusion, compared to other doses (50 and 200 ug per rat).

6) Therapy For Cartilage And Bone Tissue Regeneration

The ability of exosomes to deliver compounds such as proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids is an interesting aspect that researchers want to explore more for their regenerative ability.

Exosomes are capable of inducing cartilage regeneration through increasing the survivability of the cells of cartilages called chondrocytes by increasing their production and proliferation, which will decrease their cell death in turn. They’re also capable of increasing the regulation of immune reactivity by controlling the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Similarly, exosomes can promote the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells to mature as osteoblasts (bone cells) and can promote angiogenesis in bones, which are important factors in promoting bone regeneration.

7) Therapy For The Improvement Of Hair Growth

A supplementary material from the Journal of the Academy of Dermatology explored the novelty of exosome treatment in improving hair growth. In this study, it was shown that exosome treatment may be used against hair loss by promoting hair follicular growth, promoting the faster shift of the hair growth cycle from telogen phase (resting phase) to the anagen phase (growing phase), and protecting the hair follicular cells from the destructive effects of reactive oxygen species (reactive compounds derived from oxygen).

PEP Factor: The Best Advancement For Hair Loss Treatment

The beneficial effects of exosomes are promising, especially with their potential roles in improving the appearance of thinning hair. However, exosomes are still relatively new so despite the claims that the side effects of this therapy are minimal, adverse effects associated with this cell-based therapy are still yet to be determined and established.

With that, it’s best to look for other alternatives when it comes to hair loss treatment, such as FACE Med Store’s PEP Factor. It’s also a product of innovative technology, made up of an active ingredient called basic fibroblast growth factor that’s established to have cell growth-stimulating capacity and copper peptide that has antioxidant properties.

PEP Factor is a safe add-on to other therapeutic modalities such as microneedling, with its addition to these modalities producing improved therapeutic effects such as the better appearance of hair thinning. Moreover, due to its natural components and topical application, it’s also known to have minimal side effects such as minor redness in areas of application.

Shop For Quality Beauty and Medical Supplies At FACE Med Store 

Exosome treatment is a new technology in the field of cell and developmental biology that has a potential role in the functional recovery of cells implicated in different abnormalities such as neurodegenerative diseases and traumatic brain injury. 

At FACE Med Store, we offer the latest beauty and medical products that are of excellent quality, marked by their passing of efficacy and safety tests. We strive to provide excellent customer service and transparency to help our clients in choosing the best medical and beauty products suitable for their needs. Contact us now at (800)770-9083 or browse through our sites to know what products we have in stock.

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