Therapeutic effects of mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes on retinal detachment

Mingming Ma, Bing Li, Mingliang Zhang, Lei Zhou, Fuhua Yang, Feifei Ma, Hui Shao, Qiutang Li, Xiaorong Li, Xiaomin Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Retinal detachment (RD) induces ischemia and oxygen deficiency in the retina and results in multiple pathological events; photoreceptor cell degeneration and death is the eventual cause of vision decline. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic effects of mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes (MSC-Exos) in a rat retinal detachment (RD) model. The model was developed using a subretinal injection of 1% hyaluronic acid in male Sprague-Dawley rats. MSC-Exos were sub-retinally injected at the time of retinal separation to study their therapeutic function. The retinal expression levels of inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β, and MCP-1 were detected by RT-PCR, the autophagy-related protein 5 (Atg5) and microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta (LC3) were detected by Western blot, and apoptosis was examined using TUNEL assays at 3 days following RD. Retinal structure was observed at 7 days post-RD. Proteomic analysis was also performed to detect proteins carried by MSC-Exos using iTRAQ-based technology combined with one-dimensional nano LC-nano-ESI- MS/MS. We found that expression of TNF-α and IL-1β were significantly reduced, the LC3-II to LC3-I ratio was enhanced and cleavage of Atg5 was decreased after MSC-Exo treatment. Treatment with MSC-Exos also suppressed photoreceptor cell apoptosis and maintained normal retinal structure when compared to control groups. Proteomic analysis revealed that MSC-Exos contained proteins with anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and anti-apoptotic effects. These results suggest that MSC-Exos have therapeutic effects on RD-induced retinal injury and can be used to reduce effects of retinal detachment on photoreceptor cell degeneration in patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107899
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Exosomes
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Retinal detachment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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