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In vivo Monitoring and Assessment of Exogenous Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Derived Exosomes in Mice with Ischemic Stroke by Molecular Imaging

Authors Xu R, Bai Y, Min S, Xu X, Tang T, Ju S

Received 9 July 2020

Accepted for publication 29 September 2020

Published 17 November 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 9011—9023

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S271519

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun


Rong Xu,* Yingying Bai,* Shudan Min, Xiaoxuan Xu, Tianyu Tang, Shenghong Ju

Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Molecular and Functional Imaging, Department of Radiology, Zhongda Hospital, Medical School of Southeast University, Nanjing 210009, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Shenghong Ju
Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Molecular and Functional Imaging, Department of Radiology, Zhongda Hospital, Medical School of Southeast University, 87 Dingjiaqiao Road, Nanjing 210009, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86 25 83272121
Fax +86 25 83311083
Email jsh0836@126.com

Purpose: Mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes (MSC-exos) are considered an important restorative treatment for ischemic stroke. However, the migration ability and survival of exogenous MSC-exos remain unclear. Here, we investigated whether MSC-exos migrate into the ischemic brain and play a protective role against ischemic stroke.
Methods: MSC-exos labeled with DiR were injected intravenously into mice with ischemic stroke. Near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) images were obtained on days 0, 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, and 14, and magnetic resonance (MR) images were obtained on days 1, 7 and 14. On day 14, the functional outcomes, angiogenesis, neurogenesis, and white matter remodeling were assessed, and Western blot assays were performed.
Results: Fluorescence signals from the MSC-exos appeared in the injured brain from day 1 and peaked on day 3. The immunofluorescence staining of the brain samples revealed that the MSC-exos were localized in neurons. The behavioral scores and T2-weighted imaging indicated that the MSC-exos improved neurological functional recovery after stroke. In addition, the in vivo MR-diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) indicated that the exogenous MSC-exos increased the fractional anisotropy (FA) value, fiber length, and fiber number ratio. Furthermore, in the mice with ischemic stroke treated with MSC-exos, angiogenesis and neurogenesis were significantly improved, and the expression of IL-1β was reduced.
Conclusion: MSC-exos can migrate into the brains of mice with ischemic stroke and exert therapeutic effects against ischemic stroke; therefore, MSC-exos may have broad clinical applications in the future.

Keywords: MSCs, exosomes, homing, near-infrared fluorescence, stroke, diffusion tensor imaging

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