Stem cell-derived exosomes (SC-EXO) was an emerging therapeutic agent in regenerative medicine. Intratunical injection of SC-EXO is considered as a prospective approach for erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment. However, high vascularization of cavernous body makes effective retention a major challenge for SC-EXO intratunical injection.
In this study, researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine fabricated a Polydopamine nanoparticles (PDNPs) incorporated poly (ethylene glycol)-poly(ε-caprolactone-co-lactide) (PDNPs-PELA) thermosensitive hydrogels by a facile in situ polymerization for intratunical administration of adipose stem cell-derived exosomes (EXO). The hydrogels exhibited sol-gel transition at body temperature. Moreover, the in-situ polymerization of PDNPs using poly (ethylene glycol)-poly(ε-caprolactone-co-lactide) (PELA) block copolymer as a template was found to be more stable dispersion in the gel system. After being encapsulated into the hydrogel, EXO shows sustained release behavior within two weeks. In vivo animal experiments revealed that exosomes released from hydrogel lead to the healing of endothelial cells and neurons, increase of the cavity’s pressure, thereby restoring the erectile function. In particular, since the PDNPs in thermosensitive gels have excellent photoacoustic performance, the hydrogel can be accurately delivered into the tunica albuginea by the guidance of real-time photoacoustic imaging. These results suggest that the as-prepared PDNPs-PELA has a promising future as an injectable exosome carrier for ED treatment.