Mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes: A new therapeutic approach to osteoarthritis?

Elaheh Mianehsaz, Hamid Reza Mirzaei, Maryam Mahjoubin-Tehran, Alireza Rezaee, Roxana Sahebnasagh, Mohammad Hossein Pourhanifeh, Hamed Mirzaei, Michael R. Hamblin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

191 Citations (Scopus)


Degenerative disorders of joints, especially osteoarthritis (OA), result in persistent pain and disability and high costs to society. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanisms of OA have not yet been fully explained. OA is characterized by destruction of cartilage and loss of extracellular matrix (ECM). It is generally agreed that there is an association between pro-inflammatory cytokines and the development of OA. There is increased expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) and "a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs" (ADAMTS). Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been explored as a new treatment for OA during the last decade. It has been suggested that paracrine secretion of trophic factors, in which exosomes have a crucial role, contributes to the mechanism of MSC-based treatment of OA. The paracrine secretion of exosomes may play a role in the repair of joint tissue as well as MSC-based treatments for other disorders. Exosomes isolated from various stem cells may contribute to tissue regeneration in the heart, limbs, skin, and other tissues. Recent studies have indicated that exosomes (or similar particles) derived from MSCs may suppress OA development. Herein, for first time, we summarize the recent findings of studies on various exosomes derived from MSCs and their effectiveness in the treatment of OA. Moreover, we highlight the likely mechanisms of actions of exosomes in OA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number340
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cartilage degradation
  • Chondrocytes
  • Exosomes
  • Inflammation
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Paracrine mediators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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