Neural stem cells "heal" target cells via extracellular vesicles


It has been reported that the injection of neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs) in laboratory animals causes neuroprotection and functional recovery. Stem cell therapies are widely believed that work only via cell replacement. However, it is becoming increasingly accepted that some stem cells work via secreting intercellular molecule to the host. Cossetti et al. found NPCs communicate to the host via extracellular vesicles (EVs) and also investigated the cytokine-regulated pathways involved in the communication.


Researchers examined the components of EVs secreted by NPCs, which contain specific protein cargoes and abundant mRNAs which encoding signaling molecules of IFN-γ pathway. Further investigation showed that IFN-γ binds to Ifngr1 to form a complex, then activate Stat1 pathway for regulation of gene expression. Moreover, they used Ifngr1 mutant somatic fibroblasts cells, treated with WT IFN-γ and basal IFN-γ EVs, to investigate the transfer efficiency of IFN-γ/Ifngr1 complex from EVs to target cells. Based on the results, they suspected that a continuous activation of the Stat1 pathway is required for Ifngr1 on target cells.


The study provided a insight into the mechanisms of cell communication through stem cell-derived EVs, and highlights the role of EVs in cytokine signaling. It comes to a novel view in the understanding the mechanisms of stem cell therapy. 


Mol Cell. 2014 Oct 23;56(2):193-204.

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