Infarct-preconditioning exosomes of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells promoted vascular remodeling and neurological recovery after stroke in rats

Stem Cell Res Ther. 2022 Jul 28;13(1):378. doi: 10.1186/s13287-022-03083-9.


Background: Stroke is the leading cause of disability worldwide, resulting in severe damage to the central nervous system and disrupting neurological functions. There is no effective therapy for promoting neurological recovery. Growing evidence suggests that the composition of exosomes from different microenvironments may benefit stroke. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that exosomes secreted in response to infarction microenvironment could have further therapeutic effects.

Methods: In our study, cerebral infarct tissue extracts were used to pretreat umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (UCMSC). Infarct-preconditioned exosomes were injected into rats via tail vein after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). The effect of infarct-preconditioned exosomes on the neurological recovery of rats was examined using Tunel assay, 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) assay, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) analyses, modified Neurological Severity Score (mNSS), Morris water maze (MWM), and vascular remodeling analysis. Mi-RNA sequencing and functional enrichment analysis were used to validate the signal pathway involved in the effect of infarct-preconditioned exosomes. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were co-cultured with the isolated exosomes. Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay, scratch healing, and Western blot analysis were used to detect the biological behavior of HUVECs.

Results: The results showed that compared with normal exosomes, infarct-preconditioned exosomes further promoted vascular remodeling and recovery of neurological function after stroke. The function of upregulated miRNAs and their target genes which is beneficial to vascular smooth muscle cells verified the importance of vascular remodeling in improving stroke. Better resistance to oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation (OGD/R), reduced apoptosis, and enhanced migration were observed in infarct-preconditioned exosomes-treated umbilical vein endothelial cells.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that infarct-preconditioned exosomes promoted neurological recovery after stroke by enhancing vascular endothelial remodeling, suggested that infarct-preconditioned exosomes could be a novel way to alleviate brain damage following a stroke.

Keywords: Brain extract; Exosomes; Preconditioning; Stroke; Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells; Vascular remodeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Exosomes* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Stroke* / metabolism
  • Stroke* / therapy
  • Umbilical Cord
  • Vascular Remodeling