Accelerating corneal wound healing using exosome-mediated targeting of NF-κB c-Rel
- 1 Shandong First Medical University (Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences), Jinan, 250000, China.
- 2 Eye Institute of Shandong First Medical University, State Key Laboratory Cultivation Base, Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Qingdao, 266071, China.
- 3 Eye Institute of Shandong First Medical University, Eye Hospital of Shandong First Medical University (Shandong Eye Hospital), Jinan, 250021, China.
- 4 Eye Institute of Shandong First Medical University, State Key Laboratory Cultivation Base, Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Qingdao, 266071, China. email@example.com.
Free PMC article
The integrity of the corneal epithelium is essential for the maintenance of the physiological function of the cornea. Studies have found that inflammation greatly delays corneal wound healing. NF-κB c-Rel is preferentially expressed by immune cells and promotes the expression of inflammatory cytokines. In the current study, we sought to investigate whether c-Rel could be used as a potential therapeutic target for treating a corneal injury. Our studies reveal that expressions of c-Rel and its inflammatory targets are significantly increased in the cornea of mice with corneal injury. In addition, we find that c-Rel-deficient mice exhibit accelerated corneal wound healing and reduced expression of inflammatory cytokines. Further studies show that topical treatment on the corneal surface using nano-polymers or exosomes loaded with c-Rel-specific siRNA (siRel) can effectively accelerate regular and diabetic corneal wound healing. More importantly, we find that exosomes, as carriers of siRel, showed better efficacy than nano-polymers in treating corneal injury. We further demonstrate that exosomes secreted by mesenchymal stem cells can efficiently transfer siRNA into macrophages and dendritic cells but not T cells. Taken together, these results indicate that blocking c-Rel may represent an attracting strategy for the treatment of both regular and diabetic corneal injury.
Keywords: Corneal wound healing; Exosome; Inflammation; NF-κB; siRNA.