Secretome released from hydrogel-embedded adipose mesenchymal stem cells protects against the Parkinson’s disease related toxin 6-hydroxydopamine

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Graphical abstractNeurodegenerative diseases, as Parkinson’s disease (PD), involve irreversible neural cell damage and impairment. In PD, there is a selective degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons leading to motor symptoms. A common finding in PD neurodegeneration is the increase of reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to oxidative stress. To date there are only interventions to relieve PD symptoms, however progress has been made in the development of therapies that target the immune system or use its components as therapeutic agents; among these, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are able to express neuroprotective factors as cytokines, chemokines and angiogenic molecules, collectively named secretome, that accumulate in MSC culture medium. However, lasting cell-free administration of secretome in vitro or in vivo is challenging. We used the conditioned media from rat adipose tissue-derived MSCs (RAA-MSCs) to check for neuroprotective activity towards pro-oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) or the dopaminergic selective toxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) that is commonly used to model PD neurodegeneration. When neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells were pre-conditioned with 100% RAA-MSC media, then treated with H2O2 and 6-OHDA, mortality and ROS generation were reduced. We implemented the controlled release of RAA-MSC secretome from injectable biodegradable hydrogels that offer a possible in situ implant with mini-invasive techniques. The hydrogels were composed of type I bovine collagen (COLL) and low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid (LMWHA) or COLL and polyethylene glycol (PEG). Hydrogels were suitable for RAA-MSC embedding up to 48 h and secretome from these RAA-MSCs was active and counteracted 6-OHDA toxicity, with upregulation of the antioxidant enzyme sirtuin 3 (SIRT3). These results support a biomaterials-based approach for controlled delivery of MSC-produced neuroprotective factors in a PD-relevant experimental context.

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