This study evaluated the potential of endothelial progenitor cell (EPC)-derived exosomes as a therapeutic factor for neuronal apoptosis. Mouse EPCs were cultured in vitro, and exosomes were isolated and identified using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), particle size analysis and by determining the protein expressions of exosome markers (CD9, CD63 and Alix). The apoptotic rate of OGD-treated neurons was detected by Flow cytometry assay. The mRNA and protein expression levels were detected by RT-PCR and Western blot assay, respectively. Luciferase reporter assays determined the interaction between miR-221-3p and Bcl2l11. The results showed that most exosomes are 80-120 nm in diameter. Western blot assay showed that CD9, CD63 and Alix were enriched in exosomes. EPC-derived exosomes ameliorated OGD-induced neuronal apoptosis. Mechanistically, miR-221-3p from EPC-derived exosomes decreased the expression of bcl2l11 in OGD-induced neuronal apoptosis. Moreover, exosomes from miR-221-3p mimics transfected EPCs reduced OGD-induced neuronal apoptosis. In conclusion, miR-221-3p in EPC derived exosomes ameliorates OGD-induced neuronal apoptosis, which establish its potential as a new therapeutic method for patients with cerebrovascular diseases.
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