Exosomes of Whartons’ jelly mesenchymal stem cell reduce the NOX genes in TGF-β-induced hepatic fibrosis

Document Type : Original Article


1 Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Medical Basic Sciences Research Institute, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Jundishapour University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran


Objective(s): Activated cells which are called star-shaped cells, are some of the key factors in the development of liver fibrosis. Activation of NADPH oxidase (NOX) is associated with increased HSCs activity and progression of hepatic fibrosis. In this study, the effects of human exosomes derived from WJ-MSCs on NOX1, NOX2, and NOX4 gene expression in TGF-β-induced hepatic fibrosis were investigated.
Materials and Methods: LX2 cell line was treated with 2 ng/ml TGF-β for 24 hr, in order to induce liver fibrosis after starvation. In the next step, the cells were treated with several concentrations of the exosomes derived from WJ-MSCs (10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 μg/ml). Finally, Smad3C phosphorylated protein expression level and NOX1, NOX2, and NOX4 gene expression levels were measured.
Results: The results demonstrated that the level of NOX1, NOX2, and NOX4 mRNA expressions decreased significantly during 24 hrs at concentrations of 40 and 50 μg/ml of WJ-MSCs exosomes in TGF-β-induced-HSCs. The p-Smad3C proteins were significantly decreased (fold change: 1.83, P-value<0.05) after exposure to WJ-MSC-derived exosomes. 
Conclusion: Treatment with exosomes prevents further activation of HSCs by inhibiting the level of Smad3C phosphorylation. The experimental data of our study suggested that in liver fibrosis, the protection of HSCs activation against TGF-β by inhibiting the NOX pathway via human exosomes of WJ-MSCs is extremely important. It needs further research as a treatment method.


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