Theranostics 2020; 10(20):9425-9442. doi:10.7150/thno.43315

Research Paper

Exosomes derived from GDNF-modified human adipose mesenchymal stem cells ameliorate peritubular capillary loss in tubulointerstitial fibrosis by activating the SIRT1/eNOS signaling pathway

Lu Chen1,2,3, Yanping Wang1,2, Shulin Li1,2, Bangjie Zuo1,2, Xiangyu Zhang1,2, Fengzhen Wang4, Dong Sun1,2✉

1. Department of Nephrology, Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, China.
2. Department of Internal Medicine and Diagnostics, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, China.
3. Department of Rheumatology, Ningbo Medical Treatment Center Li Huili Hospital, Ningbo, China.
4. Department of Pharmaceutics, Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, China.

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Citation:
Chen L, Wang Y, Li S, Zuo B, Zhang X, Wang F, Sun D. Exosomes derived from GDNF-modified human adipose mesenchymal stem cells ameliorate peritubular capillary loss in tubulointerstitial fibrosis by activating the SIRT1/eNOS signaling pathway. Theranostics 2020; 10(20):9425-9442. doi:10.7150/thno.43315. Available from http://www.thno.org/v10p9425.htm

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Abstract

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged as ideal cell-based therapeutic candidates for the structural and functional restoration of the diseased kidney. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) has been demonstrated to promote the therapeutic effect of MSCs on ameliorating renal injury. The mechanism may involve the transfer of endogenous molecules via paracrine factors to salvage injured cells, but these factors remain unknown.

Methods: GDNF was transfected into human adipose mesenchymal stem cells via a lentiviral transfection system, and exosomes were isolated (GDNF-AMSC-exos). Using the unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) mouse model and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) against hypoxia/serum deprivation (H/SD) injury models, we investigated whether GDNF-AMSC-exos ameliorate peritubular capillary (PTC) loss in tubulointerstitial fibrosis and whether this effect is mediated by the Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) signaling pathway. Additionally, by using SIRT1 activators or siRNAs, the roles of the candidate mRNA and its downstream gene in GDNF-AMSC-exo-induced regulation of endothelial cell function were assessed. PTC characteristics were detected by fluorescent microangiography (FMA) and analyzed by the MATLAB software.

Results: The green fluorescent PKH67-labeled exosomes were visualized in the UUO kidneys and colocalized with CD81. GDNF-AMSC-exos significantly decreased PTC rarefaction and renal fibrosis scores in mice with UUO. In vitro studies revealed that GDNF-AMSC-exos exerted cytoprotective effects on HUVECs against H/SD injury by stimulating migration and angiogenesis as well as conferring apoptosis resistance. Mechanistically, GDNF-AMSC-exos enhanced SIRT1 signaling, which was accompanied by increased levels of phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase (p-eNOS). We also confirmed the SIRT1-eNOS interaction in HUVECs by immunoprecipitation. Furthermore, we observed a correlation of the PTC number with the SIRT1 expression level in the kidney in vivo.

Conclusion: Our study unveiled a mechanism by which exosomes ameliorate renal fibrosis: GDNF-AMSC-exos may activate an angiogenesis program in surviving PTCs after injury by activating the SIRT1/eNOS signaling pathway.

Keywords: Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, Adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cell, Exosome, Peritubular capillary, Chronic kidney disease