Molecular and Cellular Medicine Department, College of Medicine, Texas A&M University-College Station

Molecular and Cellular Medicine Department, College of Medicine, Texas A&M University-College Station

My current postdoctoral research focused on exploring the therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) in prevention of the autoimmune diseases onset as well as halting immune responses before irreversible damage has occurred. I am leading the project which involves development of a therapeutic potential for an experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) for C57BL/6 and B10.RIII mice model.


Comprehensive Molecular Profiles of Functionally Effective MSC-Derived Extracellular Vesicles in Immunomodulation

Accumulating evidence indicates that mesenchymal stem/stromal cell-derived extracellular vesicles (MSC-EVs) exhibit immunomodulatory effects by delivering therapeutic RNAs and proteins; however, the molecular mechanism underlying the EV-mediated immunomodulation is not fully understood. In this study, we found that EVs from early-passage MSCs had better immunomodulatory potency than did EVs from late-passage MSCs in T cell receptor (TCR)- or Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-stimulated splenocytes and in mice with ocular Sjögren’s syndrome. Our comparative strategy identified TGF-β1, PTX3, let-7b-5p, or miR-21-5p as key molecules mediating the therapeutic effects of MSC-EVs in autoimmune disease.

Identification of Molecules Responsible for Therapeutic Effects of Extracellular Vesicles Produced from iPSC-derived MSCs on Sjögren’s Syndrome

Recent research indicated that extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) are a promising alternative to MSCs for immunomodulatory therapy. However, the contents of MSC-EVs would change as their parent MSCs change, hence the therapeutic efficacy of MSC-derived EVs (MSC-EVs) would largely depend on donors, tissue sources and culture conditions of MSCs. To overcome limitations of tissue-derived MSCs, we previously used MSCs derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iMSCs) to produce EVs and demonstrated their therapeutic potential in a mouse model of secondary Sjo?gren’s Syndrome. Here, we further found that EVs from early-passage iMSCs had better immunomodulatory potency than EVs from late-passage iMSCs in TLR4-stimulated splenocytes and in a mouse model of primary Sjögren’s syndrome. Comparative molecular profiling using proteomics and microRNA sequencing revealed distinctive molecular profiles of iMSC-EVs with or without immunomodulation capacity. Amongst them, manipulation of TGF-β1, miR-21 and miR-125b levels in iMSC-EVs significantly affected their immunosuppressive effects. These findings would help improve our understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying iMSC-EV-mediated immunomodulation and further provide strategies to improve regulatory function of EVs for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases.