Schwann cells actively interact with axons of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons. Exosomes mediate intercellular communication by transferring their biomaterials, including microRNAs (miRs) into recipient cells. We hypothesized that exosomes derived from Schwann cells stimulated by high glucose (HG) exosomes accelerate development of diabetic peripheral neuropathy and that exosomal cargo miRs contribute to this process. We found that HG exosomes contained high levels of miR-28, -31a, and -130a compared to exosomes derived from non-HG-stimulated Schwann cells. In vitro, treatment of distal axons with HG exosomes resulted in reduction of axonal growth, which was associated with elevation of miR-28, -31a, and -130a and reduction of their target proteins of DNA methyltransferase-3α, NUMB (an endocytic adaptor protein), synaptosome associated protein 25, and growth-associated protein-43 in axons. In vivo, administration of HG exosomes to sciatic nerves of diabetic db/db mice at 7 wk of age promoted occurrence of peripheral neuropathy characterized by impairment of nerve conduction velocity and induction of mechanic and thermal hypoesthesia, which was associated with substantial decreases in intraepidermal nerve fibers. Our findings demonstrate a functional role of exosomes derived from HG-stimulated Schwann cells in mediating development of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.-Jia, L., Chopp, M., Wang, L., Lu, X., Szalad, A., Zhang, Z. G. Exosomes derived from high-glucose-stimulated Schwann cells promote development of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Keywords: axonal growth; microRNA; neuron.