Glucocorticoid-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head (GC-ONFH) is a serious bone disease that often affects young individuals. Bone grafting combined with core decompression is mainly used in the clinic to treat GC-ONFH. However, the outcome is usually not satisfactory, as expected. Researchers at Sichuan University have developed an engineered exosome-functionalized extracellular matrix-mimicking hydrogel for promoting bone repair in GC-ONFH. Compared with Con-Exo, exosomes secreted by bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) in conventional culture medium, the engineered Li-Exo, exosomes derived from bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) stimulated by lithium ions, promoted macrophage M2 polarization while inhibiting macrophage M1 polarization. Furthermore, inspired by the fact that hydrogels can serve as desirable carriers of exosomes to facilitate their release in a sustained manner for improved therapeutic efficiency and in vivo application, an extracellular matrix (ECM)-mimicking hydrogel (Lightgel) composed of methacryloylated type I collagen was employed to incorporate Li-Exo/Con-Exo to construct the Lightgel-Li-Exo hydrogel/Lightgel-Con-Exo hydrogel. In vitro studies showed that the Lightgel-Li-Exo hydrogel had the most significant pro-osteogenic and pro-angiogenic activity. Finally, the researchers evaluated the therapeutic effects of the hydrogel in rat models of GC-ONFH. As a result, the Lightgel-Li-Exo hydrogel had the most significant effect on enhancing macrophage M2 polarization, osteogenesis, and angiogenesis to promote bone repair in GC-ONFH. Taken together, this novel engineered exosome-functionalized ECM-mimicking hydrogel could be a promising strategy for osteonecrosis treatment.
Engineered exosome-functionalized extracellular matrix-mimicking hydrogel for promoting bone repair
Chen C, Fu L, Luo Y, Zeng W, Qi X, Wei Y, Chen L, Zhao X, Li D, Tian M, Kang P. (2023) Engineered Exosome-Functionalized Extracellular Matrix-Mimicking Hydrogel for Promoting Bone Repair in Glucocorticoid-Induced Osteonecrosis of the Femoral Head. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]