Background: Osteoporosis is a major public health concern for the elderly population and is characterized by fatigue load resulting in bone microdamage. The ability of bone mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) to repair bone microdamage diminishes with age, and the accumulation of bone microdamage increases the risk of osteoporotic fracture. There is a lack of effective means to promote the repair of bone microdamage in aged patients with osteoporosis. Exosomes have been shown to be related to the osteogenic differentiation of BMSCs. Here, we aimed to evaluate the changes in the osteogenic differentiation capacity of BMSCs in aged osteoporotic rats after fatigue loading and the treatment potential of serum exosomes from young rats.
Methods: The tibias of six aged osteoporotic rats were subjected to fatigue loading in vivo for 2 weeks, and the bone microdamage, microstructures, and mechanical properties were assessed. Subsequently, BMSCs were extracted to evaluate their proliferation and osteogenic differentiation abilities. In addition, the BMSCs of aged osteoporotic rats after fatigue loading were treated with serum exosomes from young rats under osteogenic induction conditions, and the expression of osteogenic-related miRNAs was quantified. The osteogenetic effects of miRNA-19b-3p in exosomes and the possible target protein PTEN was detected.
Results: Obvious bone microdamage at the fatigue load stress point, the bone microstructure and biomechanical properties were not obviously changed. A decreased osteogenic differentiation ability of BMSCs was observed after fatigue loading, while serum exosomes from young rats highly expressing miRNA-19b-3p improved the decreased osteogenic differentiation ability of BMSCs. Transfection with miRNA-19b-3p mimic could promote osteoblastic differentiation of BMSCs and decreased the expression of PTEN. After transfection of miRNA-19b-3p inhibitor, the promotional effect of exosomes on bone differentiation was weakened. Treatment with transfected exosomes increased the expression of PTEN.
Conclusion: Serum exosomes derived from young rats can improve the decreased osteogenic differentiation ability of BMSCs in aged rats with osteoporosis after fatigue loading and can provide a new treatment strategy for the repair of bone microdamage and prevention of fractures.
Keywords: Ageing; Bone mesenchymal stem cells; Bone microdamage; Exosomes; MicroRNA; Osteogenic differentiation; Osteoporotic fracture.
© 2021. The Author(s).