Exosomes are cell-derived vesicles that are present in many and perhaps all eukaryotic fluids, including blood, urine, and cultured medium of cell cultures.

Exosomes (EXs) mediate cell communication by delivering microRNAs (miRs).

The reported diameter of exosomes is between 30 and 100 nm, which is larger than LDL but much smaller than, for example, red blood cells. Exosomes are either released from the cell when multivesicular bodies fuse with the plasma membrane or released directly from the plasma membrane.

Evidence is accumulating that exosomes have specialized functions and play a key role in processes such as coagulation, intercellular signaling, and waste management.

Consequently, there is a growing interest in the clinical applications of exosomes. Exosomes can potentially be used for prognosis, for therapy, and as biomarkers for health and disease.

Exosomes derived from non-tumor cells hold great potential as drug delivery vehicles because of their good biosafety and natural transference of bioactive cargo between cells. However, compared to tumor-derived exosomes, efficient delivery is limited by their weak interactions with tumor cells. It is essential to engineer exosomes that improve tumor cellular internalization efficiency. A simple and effective strategy to enhance tumor cell uptake by engineering the exosome membrane lipids can be established by drawing on the role of lipids in tumor exosomes interacting with tumor cells. Amphiphilic phosphatidylcholine (PC) molecules are inserted into the membrane lipid layer of reticulocyte-derived exosomes (Exos) by simple incubation to construct PC-engineered exosomes (PC-Exos). It is demonstrated that PC-Exos showed significantly enhanced tumor cell internalization and uptake rate compared to native Exos, up to a twofold increase. After therapeutic agent loading, PC-Exos remarkably promotes intracellular drug or RNA accumulation in cancer cells, thus showing enhanced in vitro anti-tumor activity. This work demonstrates the crucial role of engineering exosomal lipids in modulating cancer cellular uptake, which may shed light on the design of high-efficiency exosome-based drug delivery carriers 1).

Growing interest in extracellular vesicles (EVs, including exosomes and microvesicles) as therapeutic entities, particularly in stem cell-related approaches, has underlined the need for standardization and coordination of development efforts. Members of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles and the Society for Clinical Research and Translation of Extracellular Vesicles Singapore convened a Workshop on this topic to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with the development of EV-based therapeutics at the preclinical and clinical levels 2).

Cancer recognized as one of the leading irrepressible health issues is contributing to increasing mortality-rate day-by-day. The tumor microenvironment is an important field of cancer to understand the detection, treatment and prevention of cancer. Cancer stem cell (CSC) research has shown promising results aiming towards cancer diagnostics and treatment.

Prostate and breast cancer stem cells secreted vesicles of endosomal origin, called exosomes showed strong connection between autophagy and exosomes released from CSCs. Exosomes may serve as vesicles to communicate with neoplastic cells (autocrine and paracrine manner) and normal cells (paracrine and endocrine manner) and thereby suppress immune systems and regulate neoplastic growth, and metastases. They can also be used as biomarkers for various cancers 3).

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) act as carriers of molecular and oncogenic signatures present in subsets of tumour cells and tumour-associated stroma, and as mediators of intercellular communication. These processes likely involve cancer stem cells (CSCs). EVs represent a unique pathway of cellular export and cell-to-cell transfer of insoluble molecular regulators such as membrane receptors, signalling proteins and metabolites, thereby influencing the functional integration of cancer cell populations. While mechanisms that control biogenesis, cargo and uptake of different classes of EVs (exosomes, microvesicles, ectosomes, large oncosomes) are poorly understood, they likely remain under the influence of stress-responses, microenvironment and oncogenic processes that define the biology and heterogeneity of human cancers.

Studies on gliomas suggested that the microenvironment of human gliomas contains both glioma stem cells (GSCs) and glioma associated (GA)-mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs; (GA-MSCs). Also, studies have suggested that nano- sized vesicles, termed exosomes, have been recently observed to contribute towards intercellular communication within the tumor niche 4).

Zhan Q, Yi K, Li X, Cui X, Yang E, Chen N, Yuan X, Zhao J, Hou X, Kang C. Phosphatidylcholine-Engineered Exosomes for Enhanced Tumor Cell Uptake and Intracellular Antitumor Drug Delivery. Macromol Biosci. 2021 May 5:e2100042. doi: 10.1002/mabi.202100042. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33949800.
Reiner AT, Witwer KW, van Balkom BWM, de Beer J, Brodie C, Corteling RL, Gabrielsson S, Gimona M, Ibrahim AG, de Kleijn D, Lai CP, Lötvall J, Del Portillo HA, Reischl IG, Riazifar M, Salomon C, Tahara H, Toh WS, Wauben MHM, Yang VK, Yang Y, Yeo RWY, Yin H, Giebel B, Rohde E, Lim SK. Concise Review: Developing Best-Practice Models for the Therapeutic Use of Extracellular Vesicles. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2017 Jul 17. doi: 10.1002/sctm.17-0055. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 28714557.
Kumar D, Gupta D, Shankar S, Srivastava RK. Biomolecular characterization of exosomes released from cancer stem cells: Possible implications for biomarker and treatment of cancer. Oncotarget. 2015 Feb 20;6(5):3280-91. PubMed PMID: 25682864; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4413653.
Xu H, Zhang K, Zong H, Shang M, Li K, He X. Exosomal communication in glioma - a review. J BUON. 2016 Nov-Dec;21(6):1368-1373. PubMed PMID: 28039693.
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  • Last modified: 2022/02/17 13:25
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