COVID‐19 therapy with mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) and convalescent plasma must consider exosome involvement

Exosome extracellular vesicles as biologic therapy for COVID‐19 are discussed for two areas. The first involves the growing use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) for the profound clinical cytokine storm and severe pneumonia in COVID‐19 patients. Instead, it is recommended to treat alternatively with their MSC‐released exosomes. This is because many reports in the literature and our data have shown that the release of exosomes from the in vivo administered MSC is actually responsible for their beneficial effects. Further, the exosomes are superior, simpler and clinically more convenient compared to their parental MSC. Additionally, in the context of COVID‐19, the known tendency of MSC to intravascularly aggregate causing lung dysfunction might synergize with the pneumonia aspects, and the tendency of MSC peripheral vascular micro aggregates might synergize with the vascular clots of the COVID‐19 disease process, causing significant central or peripheral vascular insufficiency. The second exosome therapeutic area for severe COVID‐19 involves use of convalescent plasma for its content of acquired immune antibodies that must consider the role in this therapy of contained nearly trillions of exosomes. Many of these derive from activated immune modulating cells and likely can function to transfer miRNAs that acting epigenetically to also influence the convalescent plasma recipient response to the virus. There is sufficient evidence, like recovery of patients with antibody deficiencies, to postulate that the antibodies actually have little effect and that immune resistance is principally due to T cell mechanisms. Further, COVID‐19 convalescent plasma has remarkably weak beneficial effects if compared to what was expected from many prior studies. This may be due to the dysfunctional immune response to the infection and resulting weak Ab that may be impaired further by antagonistic exosomes in the convalescent plasma. At the least, pre selection of plasma for the best antibodies and relevant exosomes would produce the most optimum therapy for very severely affected COVID‐19 patients.

Askenase, PW. (2020) COVID‐19 therapy with mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) and convalescent plasma must consider exosome involvement: Do the exosomes in convalescent plasma antagonize the weak immune antibodies?. J Extracell Vesicles. 10:e12004. [article]

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