Copyright ©The Author(s) 2020. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Stem Cells. Aug 26, 2020; 12(8): 803-813
Published online Aug 26, 2020. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v12.i8.803
Exosomes derived from stem cells as an emerging therapeutic strategy for intervertebral disc degeneration
Zhi-Lei Hu, Hai-Yin Li, Xian Chang, Yue-Yang Li, Chen-Hao Liu, Xiao-Xin Gao, Yu Zhai, Yu-Xuan Chen, Chang-Qing Li
Zhi-Lei Hu, Hai-Yin Li, Xian Chang, Yue-Yang Li, Chen-Hao Liu, Xiao-Xin Gao, Yu Zhai, Chang-Qing Li, Department of Orthopedics, Xinqiao Hospital, Army Military Medical University, Chongqing 400037, China
Yu-Xuan Chen, Center of Traumatic Orthopedics, People's Liberation Army 990 Hospital, Xinyang 46400, Henan Province, China
Author contributions: Hu ZL wrote the paper; Li HY, Chang X, Li YY, Liu CH, Gao XX, Zhai Y, Chen YX, and Li CQ collected the data.
Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 81572208.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Authors declare no conflict of interests for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Chang-Qing Li, MD, PhD, Chief Doctor, Director, Professor, Department of Orthopedics, Xinqiao Hospital, Army Military Medical University, Xinqiao Main Street, Shapingba District, Chongqing 400037, China.
Received: February 27, 2020
Peer-review started: February 27, 2020
First decision: May 26, 2020
Revised: June 9, 2020
Accepted: July 5, 2020
Article in press: July 5, 2020
Published online: August 26, 2020

Intervertebral disc (IVD) degenerative diseases are a common problem in the world, and they cause substantial social and economic burdens for people. The current methods for treating IVD degenerative diseases mainly include surgery and conservative treatment, which cannot fundamentally restore the normal structure of the disc. With continuous research on the mechanism of degeneration and the development of regenerative medicine, rapid progress has been made in the field of regenerative medicine regarding the use of stem cell-derived exosomes, which are active biological substances used in intercellular communication, because they show a strong effect in promoting tissue regeneration. The study of exosomes in the field of IVD degeneration has just begun, and many surprising achievements have been made. This paper mainly reviews the biological characteristics of exosomes and highlights the current status of exosomes in the field of IVD degeneration, as well as future developments regarding exosomes.

Keywords: Exosomes, Intervertebral disc degeneration, Stem cells, MicroRNA, Regenerative medicine, Biological characteristic

Core tip: This article mainly reviews the brief pathological process of disc degeneration and the biological characteristics and functions of exosomes. We highlight the current status and advancement of exosome research in the field of intervertebral disc degeneration, analyze the possible mechanisms, and discuss the future development of exosomes in this field.