Aptamer-functionalized mesenchymal stem cells-derived exosomes for targeted delivery of SN38 to colon cancer cells

Document Type : Original Article


1 Biotechnology Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Translational Medicine, University of Ferrara, Italy

3 Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center, Hemoglobinopathy Institute, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran

4 Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

5 Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

6 Nanotechnology Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

7 Department of Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

8 Targeted Drug Delivery Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran



Objective(s): Known as natural nanovesicles, exosomes have attracted increased attention as biocompatible carriers throughout recent years, which can provide appropriate sources for incorporating and transferring drugs to desired cells in order to improve their effectiveness and safety. 
Materials and Methods: This study implicates the isolation of mesenchymal stem cells from adipocyte tissue (ADSCs) to acquire a proper amount of exosomes for drug delivery. As the exosomes were separated by ultracentrifugation, SN38 was entrapped into ADSCs-derived exosomes through the combination method of incubation, freeze-thaw, and surfactant treatment (SN38/Exo). Then, SN38/Exo was conjugated with anti-MUC1 aptamer (SN38/Exo-Apt), and its targeting ability and cytotoxicity towards cancer cells were investigated.
Results: Encapsulation efficiency of SN38 into exosomes (58%) was significantly increased using our novel combination method. Furthermore, the in vitro results were indicative of the great cellular uptake of SN38/Exo-Apt and its significant cytotoxicity on Mucin 1 overexpressing cells (C26 cancer cells) without noticeable cytotoxicity on normal cells (CHO cells). 
Conclusion: The results propose that our approach developed an efficient method for loading SN38 as a hydrophobic drug into exosomes and decorating them with MUC1 aptamer against Mucin 1 overexpressing cells. So, SN38/Exo-Apt could be considered a great platform in the future for the therapy of colorectal cancer. 


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