Human Bone Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Derived Exosomes Inhibit IL-1β-Induced Inflammation in Osteoarthritis Chondrocytes

Document Type : Original Article


1 Chemical Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Taizhou Vocational and Technical College, Taizhou, Zhejiang, China

2 Bone Marrow Transplantation Centre, First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China


Human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell (hBMSC)-derived exosomes exhibit protective effects against inflammatory diseases. This study aimed to explore the effects of hBMSC-derived exosomes on osteoarthritis (OA) in vitro and its related mechanisms.
Materials and Methods
In this experimental study, we characterised exosomes derived from hBMSCs by transmission electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking and Western blot analysis. Cellular uptake of exosomes was observed by fluorescent microscopy. Cell viability of chondrocytes exposed to interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) was determined by the Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8). Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was used to determine expression levels of genes related to apoptosis, inflammation, cartilage collagen metabolism and mitogen-activated protein kinases.
Fluorescence microscopy revealed that hBMSC-derived exosomes could be taken up by chondrocytes. hBMSC-derived exosomes could significantly enhance cell viability of chondrocytes in response to IL-1β treatment. RT-qPCR showed significant up-regulation of Survivin, Versican, IL-1β, IL-6, NF-κB, MMP-13, MAPK p38, JNK, ERK, Aggrecan and SOX9 expression levels by IL-1β treatment, while their mRNA expression levels decreased after co- culture with exosomes. The anti-inflammatory gene TGF-β was markedly suppressed by IL-1β treatment; however, we observed its expression after co-culture with exosomes. Additionally, the pro-inflammatory genes IL-1β, IL-6, NF-κB, TNF-α and TNF-β displayed significantly elevated expression levels in the IL-1β group and reduced expression levels after co-culture with exosomes.
hBMSC-derived exosomes may play a protective role in chondrocytes through inhibiting cell apoptosis and the inflammatory response. These results will provide a novel therapeutic strategy for OA.