Extracellular vesicles from a muscle cell line (C2C12) enhance cell survival and neurite outgrowth of a motor neuron cell line (NSC-34)

J Extracell Vesicles. 2014 Feb 19:3. doi: 10.3402/jev.v3.22865. eCollection 2014.


Introduction: There is renewed interest in extracellular vesicles over the past decade or 2 after initially being thought of as simple cellular garbage cans to rid cells of unwanted components. Although there has been intense research into the role of extracellular vesicles in the fields of tumour and stem cell biology, the possible role of extracellular vesicles in nerve regeneration is just in its infancy.

Background: When a peripheral nerve is damaged, the communication between spinal cord motor neurons and their target muscles is disrupted and the result can be the loss of coordinated muscle movement. Despite state-of-the-art surgical procedures only approximately 10% of adults will recover full function after peripheral nerve repair. To improve upon such results will require a better understanding of the basic mechanisms that influence axon outgrowth and the interplay between the parent motor neuron and the distal end organ of muscle. It has previously been shown that extracellular vesicles are immunologically tolerated, display targeting ligands on their surface, and can be delivered in vivo to selected cell populations. All of these characteristics suggest that extracellular vesicles could play a significant role in nerve regeneration.

Methods: We have carried out studies using 2 very well characterized cell lines, the C2C12 muscle cell line and the motor neuron cell line NSC-34 to ask the question: Do extracellular vesicles from muscle influence cell survival and/or neurite outgrowth of motor neurons?

Conclusion: Our results show striking effects of extracellular vesicles derived from the muscle cell line on the motor neuron cell line in terms of neurite outgrowth and survival.

Keywords: extracellular vesicles; motor neuron; muscle; neurite outgrowth.