Exosome-eluting stents for vascular healing after ischaemic injury

Nat Biomed Eng. 2021 Oct;5(10):1174-1188. doi: 10.1038/s41551-021-00705-0. Epub 2021 Apr 5.


Drug-eluting stents implanted after ischaemic injury reduce the proliferation of endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells and thus neointimal hyperplasia. However, the eluted drug also slows down the re-endothelialization process, delays arterial healing and can increase the risk of late restenosis. Here we show that stents releasing exosomes derived from mesenchymal stem cells in the presence of reactive oxygen species enhance vascular healing in rats with renal ischaemia-reperfusion injury, promoting endothelial cell tube formation and proliferation, and impairing the migration of smooth muscle cells. Compared with drug-eluting stents and bare-metal stents, the exosome-coated stents accelerated re-endothelialization and decreased in-stent restenosis 28 days after implantation. We also show that exosome-eluting stents implanted in the abdominal aorta of rats with unilateral hindlimb ischaemia regulated macrophage polarization, reduced local vascular and systemic inflammation, and promoted muscle tissue repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug-Eluting Stents*
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Endothelium, Vascular
  • Exosomes*
  • Ischemia
  • Rats
  • Stents