Introduction: Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) therapy in recent years has gained significant attention. Though the functional outcomes following MSC therapy for neurodegenerative diseases are convincing, various mechanisms for the functional recovery are being debated. Nevertheless, recent studies convincingly demonstrated that recovery following MSC therapy could be reiterated with MSC secretome per se thereby shifting the dogma from cell therapy to cell “based” therapy. In addition to various functional proteins, stem cell secretome also includes extracellular membrane vesicles like exosomes. Exosomes which are of “Nano” size have attracted significant interest as they can pass through the bloodbrain barrier far easily than macro size cells or growth factors. Exosomes act as a cargo between cells to bring about significant alterations in target cells. As the importance of exosomes is getting unveil, it is imperial to carry out a comprehensive study to evaluate the neuroprotective potential of exosomes as compared to conventional co-culture or total condition medium treatments.
Objective: Thus, the present study is designed to compare the neuroprotective potential of MSC derived exosomes with MSC-condition medium or neuron–MSC-co-culture system against kainic acid induced excitotoxicity in in vitro condition. The study also aims at comparing the neuroprotective efficacy of exosomes/condition medium/co-culture of two MSC viz., neural crest derived human Dental Pulp Stem Cells (hDPSC) and human Bone-Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hBM-MSC) to identify the appropriate MSC source for treating neurodegenerative diseases.
Result: Our results demonstrated that neuroprotective efficacy of MSC-exosomes is as efficient as MSC-condition medium or neuron-MSC co-culture system and treating degenerating hippocampal neurons with all three MSC based approaches could up-regulate host’s endogenous growth factor expressions and prevent apoptosis by activating cell survival PI3K-B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) pathway.
Conclusion: Thus, the current study highlights the possibilities of treating neurodegenerative diseases with “Nano” size exosomes as opposed to transplanting billions of stem cells which inherit several disadvantages.