Nebulised mesenchymal stem cell derived extracellular vesicles ameliorate E. coli induced pneumonia in a rodent model

Hector Gonzalez, Sean McCarthy, Claire Masterson, Declan Byrnes, Ignacio Sallent, Emma Horan, Stephen J Elliman, Gabriele Vella, Adriele P Mello, Johnatas D Silva, Anna D Krasnodembskaya, Ronan MacLoughlin, John G Laffey, Daniel O'Toole*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been proposed as an alternative to cell therapy, creating new possible delivery modalities such as nebulisation. We wished to investigate the therapeutic potential of directly nebulised MSC-EVs in the mitigation of Escherichia coli-induced pneumonia.

METHODS: EV size, surface markers and miRNA content were assessed pre- and post-nebulisation. BEAS2B and A459 lung cells were exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and treated with nebulised bone marrow (BM) or umbilical cord (UC) MSC-EVs. Viability assays (MTT) and inflammatory cytokine assays were performed. THP-1 monocytes were stimulated with LPS and nebulised BM- or UC-EVs and phagocytosis activity was measured. For in vivo experiments, mice received LPS intratracheally (IT) followed by BM- or UC-EVs intravenously (IV) and injury markers assessed at 24 h. Rats were instilled with E. coli bacteria IT and BM- or UC-EVs delivered IV or by direct nebulisation. At 48 h, lung damage was assessed by physiological parameters, histology and inflammatory marker presence.

RESULTS: MSC-EVs retained their immunomodulatory and wound healing capacity after nebulisation in vitro. EV integrity and content were also preserved. Therapy with IV or nebulised MSC-EVs reduced the severity of LPS-induced lung injury and E. coli-induced pneumonia by reducing bacterial load and oedema, increasing blood oxygenation and improving lung histological scores. MSC-EV treated animals also showed lower levels of inflammatory cytokines and inflammatory-related markers.

CONCLUSIONS: MSC-EVs given IV attenuated LPS-induced lung injury, and nebulisation of MSC-EVs did not affect their capacity to attenuate lung injury caused by E. coli pneumonia, as evidenced by reduction in bacterial load and improved lung physiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151
JournalStem Cell Research & Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 06 Jun 2023

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© 2023. The Author(s).


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