This study was designed to determine the influence of microvesicles (MVs) derived from multipotent stromal cells isolated from human adipose tissue (hASCs) on retinal functionality in dogs with various types of retinal degeneration. The biological properties of hASC-MVs were first determined using an in vitro model of retinal Muller-like cells (CaMLCs). The in vitro assays included analysis of hASC-MVs influence on cell viability and metabolism. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression was also determined. Evaluation of the hASC-MVs was performed under normal and oxidative stress conditions. Preliminary clinical studies were performed on ten dogs with retinal degeneration. The clinical studies included behavioral tests, fundoscopy and electroretinography before and after hASC-MVs intra-vitreal injection. The in vitro study showed that CaMLCs treated with hASC-MVs were characterized by improved viability and mitochondrial potential, both under normal and oxidative stress conditions. Additionally, hASC-MVs under oxidative stress conditions reduced the number of senescence-associated markers, correlating with the increased expression of BDNF. The preliminary clinical study showed that the intra-vitreal administration of hASC-MVs significantly improved the dogs' general behavior and tracking ability. Furthermore, fundoscopy demonstrated that the retinal blood vessels appeared to be less attenuated, and electroretinography using HMsERG demonstrated an increase in a- and b-wave amplitude after treatment. These results shed promising light on the application of cell-free therapies in veterinary medicine for retinal degenerative disorders treatment.
Keywords: human multipotent stromal cells; microvesicles; retinal regeneration.