Abstract

Dendritic cell-derived exosomes have been proven to be efficient adjuvant options for anti-tumor vaccines in cancer immunotherapy. However, their potency in atherosclerosis remains unclear. Here we summarize the association of microRNA-203-3p (miR-203-3p) with dendritic cell-derived exosomes and atherosclerosis. Firstly, dendritic cell-derived exosomes and bone marrow-derived macrophages were isolated, after which expression of miR-203-3p and cathepsin S was determined. After the establishment of atherosclerosis mouse models, gain- and loss-of-function experiments were conducted for the analysis of effects of miR-203-3p and cathepsin S on foam-cell formation, lipid accumulation, collagen deposition and serum total cholesterol. The results found high expression of cathepsin S in atherosclerosis mice and downregulation of miR-203-3p in the serum of atherosclerosis patients and ox-LDL-simulated bone marrow-derived macrophages. Cathepsin S was the target gene of miR-203-3p. miR-203-3p transporting from exosomes to bone marrow-derived macrophages resulted in inhibition of cathepsin S expression and atherosclerosis-related phenotypes in bone marrow-derived macrophages, thus alleviating atherosclerosis in mice, and this process was found to involve the p38/MAPK signaling pathway. These findings provided evidence that the transfer of miR-203-3p by dendritic cell-derived exosomes targeted cathepsin S in bone marrow-derived macrophages to attenuate atherosclerosis progression in mice, serving as a promising clinical target for atherosclerosis.