Scientists reveal new mechanisms for pulmonary fibrosis treatment

On September 4, Ji Guangju’s research group from the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences published a research paper in the internationally renowned journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy, revealing the role and mechanism of human embryonic stem cell exosomes in the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive, irreversible lung disease characterized by pulmonary fibrosis and impaired lung function, eventually leading to respiratory failure. Many studies have found that stem cell exosomes have great potential in fibrosis interventions. Among them, mesenchymal stem cell exosomes (MSC-Exos) are the most widely studied, they are rich in bioactive substances, which can reduce inflammation, inhibit fibrous scar tissue formation, and promote the regeneration of damaged tissue. The study found that human embryonic stem cell exosomes (hESC-Exos) were better than MSC-Exos in regulating damage repair. However, the effect of hESC-Exos intervention in pulmonary fibrosis has not been reported.

This study is the first to report the significant effect of hESC-Exos in the treatment and prevention of pulmonary fibrosis and elucidates the molecular mechanism of its action, providing new insights into drug development for fibrosis-related diseases. The results showed that hESC-Exos injection could significantly reduce inflammation, remove collagen deposition, repair damaged alveolar structure, increase lung blood flow, and improve lung function in mice. In terms of mechanism, it was found that hESC-Exos carries a high abundance of miR-17-5p, which can regulate the expression of fibrosis-related gene Thrombospondin-2 (Thbs2), thereby inhibiting the occurrence and progression of pulmonary fibrosis.

hESC-exo reduces Thbs2 expression and alleviates pulmonary fibrosis by delivering miR-17-5p into BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis lungs

This study reports for the first time the intervention effect of hESC-Exos in pulmonary fibrosis, which shows good immune regulation and damage repair ability. This study suggests that hESC-Exos has a good application prospect in the prevention and treatment of fibrotic diseases.

Researcher Ji Guangju and Associate Professor Wang Huiwen from the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences are the corresponding authors of the paper, and Liu Qun and Bi Youkun, doctoral students in Ji Guangju’s group, are co-first authors. This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China and the National Natural Science Foundation of China. (Source: Meng Lingxiao, China Science News)

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