Selective microRNA expression of exosomes from retinal pigment epithelial cells by oxidative stress

Vision Res. 2024 Jul:220:108388. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2024.108388. Epub 2024 Apr 8.


The function of exosomal miRNAs (miRs) in retinal degeneration is largely unclear. We were aimed to investigate the functions of exosomes as well as their miRs derived from retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells following exposure to oxidative stress (OS). After the OS by lipopolysaccharide and rotenone on RPE cells, interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-α) were upregulated, along with the decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and upregulated oxidative damage marker 8-OH-dG in RPE cells. RPE-derived exosomes were then isolated, identified, injected into the subretinal space in mice. After subretinal injection, RPE-exosomes after OS not only induced higher ROS level and apoptotic retinal cells, but also elevated IL-1β, IL-6 alongside TNF-α expressions among retina/RPE/choroidal complex. Next, miRs inside the exosomes were sequenced by the next generation sequencing (NGS) technology. NGS revealed that certain miRs were abundant in exosomes, while others were selectively kept by RPE cells. Further, downregulated miRs, like miR-125b-5p, miR-125a-5p, alongside miR-128-3p, and upregulated miR, such as miR-7-5p were validated byRT-qPCR. Finally, Gene Ontology (GO) annotation and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis were used to find the possible target genes of those selective exosomal miRs. Our results proved that the RPE-derived exosomes after OS selectively express certain miRs, providing novel insights into the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in future.

Keywords: Exosome; Next generation sequencing; Retinal pigment epithelia; Retinopathy; miRNA.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Exosomes* / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress* / physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium* / metabolism