Bone marrow-mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomal microRNA-141 targets PTEN and activates β-catenin to alleviate myocardial injury in septic mice

Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2021 Oct;43(5):584-593. doi: 10.1080/08923973.2021.1955920. Epub 2021 Jul 26.


Background: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and their derived exosomes have shown potentials in the control of myocardial dysfunction. This study aimed to reveal the function of bone marrow (BM)-MSC-derived exosomes in sepsis-induced myocardial injury and the molecular mechanism.

Methods: BM-MSC-derived exosomes were obtained and identified. A mouse model with sepsis was induced by cecalligation puncture (CLP) and treated with exosomes. The myocardial function of mice, the production of creatine kinase MB (CK-MB) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in serum, the phosphorylation of a key myocardial contractility-related protein phospholamban (PLB), and the pathological changes in the myocardial tissues were examined. A microRNA (miRNA) microarray analysis was performed to examine the candidate miRNAs carried by the exosomes. Rescue experiments were conducted to validate the involvement of miR-141.

Results: CLP treatment led to sepsis and notably reduced the myocardial function in mice. Further treatment of BM-MSC-derived exosomes alleviated the CLP-induced myocardial impairment, production of CK-MB and LDH, and inflammatory infiltration and cell apoptosis in mouse myocardial tissues, and restored the PLB phosphorylation. miR-141 was the most upregulated miRNA in the myocardial tissues after exosome treatment. Downregulation of miR-141 blocked the myocardium-protective functions of the exosomes. miR-141 was found to bind to and suppress PTEN expression, which further enhanced the activity of β-catenin.

Conclusion: This study suggested that BM-MSC derived exosomes ameliorates myocardial injury in septic mice through conveying miRNA-141 and regulating the PTEN/β-catenin axis, and exosomes may serve as promising tools for the management of myocardial injury induced by sepsis or other factors.

Keywords: Exosomes; PTEN; miR-141; myocardial injury; sepsis; β-catenin.