Schwann Cell-Derived Exosomes and Methylprednisolone Composite Patch for Spinal Cord Injury Repair

ACS Nano. 2023 Nov 28;17(22):22928-22943. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.3c08046. Epub 2023 Nov 10.


Spinal cord injury (SCI) can cause permanent loss of sensory and motor function, and there is no effective clinical treatment, to date. Due to the complex pathological process involved after injury, synergistic treatments are very urgently needed in clinical practice. We designed a nanofiber scaffold hyaluronic acid hydrogel patch to release both exosomes and methylprednisolone to the injured spinal cord in a non-invasive manner. This composite patch showed good biocompatibility in the stabilization of exosome morphology and toxicity to nerve cells. Meanwhile, the composite patch increased the proportion of M2-type macrophages and reduced neuronal apoptosis in an in vitro study. In vivo, the functional and electrophysiological performance of rats with SCI was significantly improved when the composite patch covered the surface of the hematoma. The composite patch inhibited the inflammatory response through macrophage polarization from M1 type to M2 type and increased the survival of neurons by inhibition neuronal of apoptosis after SCI. The therapeutic effects of this composite patch can be attributed to TLR4/NF-κB, MAPK, and Akt/mTOR pathways. Thus, the composite patch provides a medicine-exosomes dual-release system and may provide a non-invasive method for clinical treatment for individuals with SCI.

Keywords: Schwann cell-derived exosomes; apoptosis; composite patch; methylprednisolone; neuroinflammation; spinal cord injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Exosomes* / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Methylprednisolone / metabolism
  • Methylprednisolone / pharmacology
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries* / drug therapy
  • Spinal Cord Injuries* / pathology


  • Methylprednisolone