Published online Mar 26, 2020. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v12.i3.178
Peer-review started: December 27, 2019
First decision: February 20, 2020
Revised: February 22, 2020
Accepted: March 22, 2020
Article in press: March 22, 2020
Published online: March 26, 2020
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have attracted considerable attention for their activity in the treatment of refractory visual disorders. Since MSCs were found to possess the beneficial effects by secreting paracrine factors rather than direct differentiation, MSC-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) were widely studied in various disease models. MSCs generate abundant EVs, which act as important mediators by exchanging protein and genetic information between MSCs and target cells. It has been confirmed that MSC-derived EVs possess unique anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, tissue repairing, neuroprotective, and immunomodulatory properties, similar to their parent cells. Upon intravitreal injection, MSC-derived EVs rapidly diffuse through the retina to alleviate retinal injury or inflammation. Due to possible risks associated with MSC transplantation, such as vitreous opacity and pathological proliferation, EVs appear to be a better choice for intravitreal injection. Small size EVs can pass through biological barriers easily and their contents can be modified genetically for optimal therapeutic effect. Hence, currently, they are also explored for the possibility of serving as drug delivery vehicles. In the current review, we describe the characteristics of MSC-derived EVs briefly, comprehensively summarize their biological functions in ocular diseases, and discuss their potential applications in clinical settings.
Core tip: The therapeutic potential of Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) has been widely studied in various diseases. In the current review, we summarize all the studies about the use of MSC-derived EVs in different ocular disorders, such as corneal injury, glaucoma, uveitis and retinal diseases. We also discuss the history and properties of MSC-derived EVs, the advantages of their use in treating eye diseases and their drug delivery potential. This review also provides future directions for enhancing the therapeutic effect of MSC-derived EVs in treating ocular diseases.