Studies of membrane vesicles pave the way to innovative treatments of degenerative diseases

January 15, 2020

Research team leader Marina Gomzikova, employee of the Gene and Cell Technologies Lab, started working on extracellular microvesicles (ECMVs) in 2013, when she was enrolled in her PhD course. Since then, very promising properties were found in ECMVs derived from human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

ECMVs are microstructures surrounded by a cytoplasm membrane; they have proven to be a prospective therapeutic tool due to their biocompatibility, miniature size, safety, and regenerative properties. Microvesicles can be applied to circumvent the existing limitations in cell therapy without losing in effectiveness. At Kazan Federal University, cytochalasin B-induced membrane vesicles (CIMVs) are currently studied. They are derived from mesenchymal stem cells, which are very similar to natural ECMVs.

In this paper, the authors produced, studied and characterized the biological activity of MSC-derived CIMVs. A number of biologically active molecules were found in CIMVs, such as growth factors, cytokines, and chemokines; their immunophenotype was also described. Most importantly, CIMVs were found to stimulate angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels, in the same way as stem cells.

Therefore, the team believes that human CIMVs-MSCs can be used for cell free therapy of degenerative diseases. CIMVs-MSCs are able to induce therapeutic angiogenesis, which is necessary for the treatment of ischemic tissue damage (for example, ischemic heart disease, hind limb ischemia, diabetic angiopathies, and trophic ulcers) and stimulate regeneration processes in cases of skin damage (wounds and burns), neurodegeneration (multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease), or traumatic injuries (damage of peripheral nerves and spinal cord injury).

Gomzikova's group continues to research the therapeutic potential artificial microvesicles for autoimmune diseases. Vector properties, i. e. the capacity for delivery, of vesicles for tumor therapy is also of interest.

CIMVs can become a new therapeutic tool in regenerative medicine and a new class of effective and safe medications.

Kazan Federal University

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