Exosomes of Mesenchymal Stem Cells as a Proper Vehicle for Transfecting miR-145 into the Breast Cancer Cell Line and Its Effect on Metastasis

Biomed Res Int. 2021 Jun 29;2021:5516078. doi: 10.1155/2021/5516078. eCollection 2021.


Background: Despite recent advances in scientific knowledge and clinical practice, management, and treatment of breast cancer, as one of the leading causes of female mortality, breast cancer remains a major burden. Recently, methods employing stem cells and their derivatives, i.e., exosomes, in gene-based therapies hold great promise. Since these natural nanovesicles are able to transmit crucial cellular information which can be engineered to have robust delivery and targeting capacity, they are considered one of the modes of intercellular communication. miR-145, one of the downregulated microRNAs (miRNAs) in various cancers, can regulate tumor cell invasion, metastasis, apoptosis, and proliferation and stem cell differentiation.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the role of exosomes secreted from adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for miR-145 transfection into breast cancer cells in order to weaken their expansion and metastasis.

Methods: Here, we exploited the exosomes from adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC-Exo) to deliver miR-145 in the T-47D breast cancer cell line. Lentiviral vectors of miR-145-pLenti-III-enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) and empty pLenti-III-eGFP as the backbone were used to transfect MSCs and T-47D cells. In order to find the efficiency of exosomes as a delivery vehicle, the expression level of some miR-145 target genes, including Rho-Associated Coiled-Coil Containing Protein Kinase 1 (ROCK1), Erb-B2 Receptor Tyrosine Kinase 2 (ERBB2), Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9), and Tumor Protein p53 (TP53), was compared in all treatment groups (T-47D cells treated by miR-145-transfected MSCs and their derivatives or their backbone) and control group (untransfected T-47D cells) using real-time PCR.

Results: The obtained data represented the inhibitory effect of miR-145 on apoptosis induction and metastasis in both direct miR-treated groups. However, exosome-mediated delivery caused an improved anticancer property of miR-145.

Conclusion: Restoration of miR-145 using MSC-Exo can be considered a potential novel therapeutic strategy in breast cancer in the future.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Exosomes / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Transfection*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • rho-Associated Kinases / genetics
  • rho-Associated Kinases / metabolism


  • MIRN145 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • ROCK1 protein, human
  • rho-Associated Kinases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9