Anti-Inflammatory Mesenchymal Stromal Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles Improve Pathology in Niemann-Pick Type C Disease

Biomedicines. 2021 Dec 8;9(12):1864. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9121864.


Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease is a rare neurovisceral lipid storage disease with progressive neurodegeneration, leading to premature death. The disease is caused by loss-of-function mutations either in the NPC1 or NPC2 gene which results in lipid accumulation in the late endosomes and lysosomes. The involved disease mechanisms are still incompletely understood, making the design of a rational treatment very difficult. Since the disease is characterized by peripheral inflammation and neuroinflammation and it is shown that extracellular vesicles (EVs) obtained from mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) provide immunomodulatory capacities, we tested the potential of MSC-EV preparations to alter NPC1 disease pathology. Here, we show that the administration of an MSC-EV preparation with in vitro and in vivo confirmed immune modulatory capabilities is able to reduce the inflammatory state of peripheral organs and different brain regions of NPC1-diseased mice almost to normal levels. Moreover, a reduction of foamy cells in different peripheral organs was observed upon MSC-EV treatment of NPC1-/- mice. Lastly, the treatment was able to decrease microgliosis and astrogliosis, typical features of NPC1 patients that lead to neurodegeneration. Altogether, our results reveal the therapeutic potential of MSC-EVs as treatment for the genetic neurovisceral lipid storage disease NPC, thereby counteracting both central and peripheral features.

Keywords: Niemann–Pick type C disease; extracellular vesicles; mesenchymal stem cell.