Peripheral ischemia as a result of occlusive vascular disease is a widespread problem in patients older than the age of 65. Angiogenic therapies that can induce microvascular growth have great potential for providing a long-lasting solution for patients with ischemia and would provide an appealing alternative to surgical and percutaneous interventions. However, many angiogenic therapies have seen poor efficacy in clinical trials, suggesting that patients with long-term peripheral ischemia have considerable therapeutic resistance to angiogenic stimuli. Glioblastoma is one of the most angiogenic tumor types, inducing robust vessel growth in the area surrounding the tumor. One major angiogenic mechanism used by the tumor cells to induce blood vessel growth is the production of exosomes and other extracellular vesicles that can carry pro-angiogenic and immunomodulatory signals. Here, we explored whether the pro-angiogenic aspects of glioblastoma-derived exosomes could be harnessed to promote angiogenesis and healing in the context of peripheral ischemic disease. We demonstrate that the exosomes derived from glioblastoma markedly enhance endothelial cell proliferation and increase endothelial tubule formation in vitro. An analysis of the microRNA expression using next generation sequencing identified that exosomes contained a high concentration of miR-221. In addition, we found that glioblastoma exosomes contained significant amounts of the proteoglycans glypican-1 and syndecan-4, which can serve as co-receptors for angiogenic factors, including fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2). In a hindlimb ischemia model in mice, we found that the exosomes promoted enhanced revascularization in comparison to control alginate gels and FGF-2 treatment alone. Taken together, our results support the fact that glioblastoma-derived exosomes have powerful effects in increasing revascularization in the context of peripheral ischemia.
Keywords: exosomes; glioblastoma; ischemia; miR-221; therapeutic angiogenesis.