The clinical application of doxorubicin (Dox) is limited due to its undesirable cardiotoxicity side effects. Cellular senescence plays an important role in Dox-induced cardiotoxicity. Exosomes derived from stem cells showed a therapeutic effect in Dox-induced cardiomyopathy (DIC). Hypoxia-preconditioned exosomes (exosomeHypoxia) display pro-metabolism and pro-survival abilities. Several long-noncoding RNAs/microRNAs act as competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) modulating DIC. No study investigated whether exosomeHypoxia could attenuate DIC through modulating ceRNAs.

Treatment of the human adipose–derived mesenchymal stem cells with hypoxia induced lncRNA-MALAT1 accumulation in the secreted exosomes. In addition, the lncRNA-MALAT1 was identified as an exosomal transfer RNA to repress miR-92a-3p expression. Silencing the lncRNA-MALAT1 in MSCs or miR-92a-3p overexpression in cardiomyocytes significantly impaired the rejuvenation induced by exosomeHypoxia. TargetScan and luciferase assay showed that miR-92a-3p targeted the ATG4a 3' untranslated region. Silencing ATG4a blocked the anti-senescent effect of exosomeHypoxia.

This study identified the lncRNA-MALAT1 that functioned as ceRNA binding to miR-92a-3p, leading to ATG4a activation, thus improving mitochondrial metabolism. LncRNA-MALAT1/miR-92a-3p/ATG4a partially mediates the cardioprotective roles of exosomeHypoxia in Dox-induced cardiac damage. ExosomeHypoxia may serve as a potential therapeutic target against DIC.