Small extracellular vesicles derived from hypoxic mesenchymal stem cells promote vascularized bone regeneration through the miR-210-3p/EFNA3/PI3K pathway

Acta Biomater. 2022 Sep 15:150:413-426. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2022.07.015. Epub 2022 Jul 16.


Angiogenesis is closely coupled with osteogenesis and has equal importance. Thus, promoting angiogenesis during the bone repair process is vital for ideal bone regeneration. As important mediators of cell-cell communication and biological homeostasis, mesenchymal stem cell-derived small extracellular vesicles (MSC-sEVs) have been proved to be highly involved in bone and vascular regeneration. Because hypoxia microenvironment promotes the proangiogenic activity of MSCs, in the present study, we investigate the effect and underlying molecular mechanisms of sEVs from hypoxia-preconditioned MSCs (hypo-sEVs) on angiogenesis and develop an effective strategy to promote vascularized bone regeneration. Compared to sEVs from normoxia MSCs (nor-sEVs), hypo-sEVs promoted the proliferation, migration, and angiogenesis of HUVECs and ultimately enhanced bone regeneration and new blood vessel reconstruction in a critical-size calvarial bone defect model. miRNA sequence and the verified results showed that miR-210-3p in hypo-sEVs was increased via HIF-1α under hypoxia. The upregulated miR-210-3p in hypo-sEVs promoted angiogenesis by downregulating EFNA3 expression and enhancing the phosphorylation of the PI3K/AKT pathway. Thus, this study suggests a successful strategy to enhance vascularized bone regeneration by utilizing hypo-sEVs via the miR-210-3p/EFNA3/PI3K/AKT pathway. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Considering the significance of vascularization in ideal bone regeneration, strategies to promote angiogenesis during bone repair are required. Hypoxia microenvironment can promote the proangiogenic potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Nonetheless, the therapeutic effect of small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) from hypoxia-preconditioned MSCs on cranio-maxillofacial bone defect remains unknown, and the underlying mechanism is poorly understood. This study shows that hypo-sEVs significantly enhance the proliferation, migration, and angiogenesis of HUVECs as well as promote vascularized bone formation. Moreover, this work indicates that HIF-1α can induce overexpression of miR-210-3p under hypoxia, and miR-210-3p can hinder EFNA3 expression and subsequently activate the PI3K/AKT pathway. The application of hypo-sEVs provides a facile and promising strategy to promote vascularized bone regeneration in a critical-size bone defect model.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Hypoxia; MSC-sEVs; Vascularized bone regeneration; miR-210-3p.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Regeneration
  • Ephrin-A3
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism


  • Ephrin-A3
  • MicroRNAs
  • MIRN210 microRNA, human
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • EFNA3 protein, human