Myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, is one of the major causes of death globally. Unfortunately, despite the fact that current surgical techniques, diagnostics, and drugs have considerably improved early survival from these occurrences, many patients still suffer from the long-term repercussions of irreversibly damaged tissue. The 5-year mortality rate still remains high.
Scientists have looked at employing stem cell therapy to regrow tissue following a heart attack. However, injecting stem cells directly into the heart can be dangerous because they can produce an immunological reaction or grow out of control, leading to a tumor. Exosomes, membrane-bound sacs containing proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids released by stem cells, have been injected into the heart by researchers, but they frequently break down before they can have therapeutic benefits.
According to a new study published in the journal ACS Nano, Chinese researchers produced a minimally invasive exosome spray that helped mend rat hearts after myocardial infarction (MI). Researcher Yafeng Zhou and colleagues aimed to create an exosome solution that could be sprayed onto the heart through a small incision rather than undergoing extensive surgery.
Exosomes from mesenchymal stem cells were combined with fibrinogen, a protein implicated in blood clotting. They mixed this solution with a separate solution of another clotting protein called thrombin in a tiny, double-barreled syringe. The liquids combined and generated an exosome-containing gel that clung to the heart when the team blasted the solutions out of the syringe onto a rat's heart through a minor chest incision. The spray needle was directed by a mini-endoscope placed through a second tiny incision.
Exosome spray lasted longer, repaired injuries better, and increased the expression of beneficial proteins in rats who had recently had a heart attack than heart-injected exosomes. Compared to open-chest surgery, the spray induced less severe immunological reactions and surgical stress in pigs.
According to the researchers of this study, the spray represents a viable approach for delivering therapeutic exosomes for heart repair.