We have previously identified exosomes as the paracrine factor secreted by mesenchymal stem cells. Recently, we found that the key features of reperfusion injury, namely loss of ATP/NADH, increased oxidative stress and cell death were underpinned by proteomic deficiencies in ischemic/reperfused myocardium, and could be ameliorated by proteins in exosomes. To test this hypothesis in vivo, mice (C57Bl6/J) underwent 30 min ischemia, followed by reperfusion (I/R injury). Purified exosomes or saline was administered 5 min before reperfusion. Exosomes reduced infarct size by 45% compared to saline treatment. Langendorff experiments revealed that intact but not lysed exosomes enhanced viability of the ischemic/reperfused myocardium. Exosome treated animals exhibited significant preservation of left ventricular geometry and contractile performance during 28 days follow-up. Within an hour after reperfusion, exosome treatment increased levels of ATP and NADH, decreased oxidative stress, increased phosphorylated-Akt and phosphorylated-GSK-3β, and reduced phosphorylated-c-JNK in ischemic/reperfused hearts. Subsequently, both local and systemic inflammation were significantly reduced 24h after reperfusion. In conclusion, our study shows that intact exosomes restore bioenergetics, reduce oxidative stress and activate pro-survival signaling, thereby enhancing cardiac function and geometry after myocardial I/R injury. Hence, mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes are a potential adjuvant to reperfusion therapy for myocardial infarction.
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