Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 19 pp 19546—19562

Comparison of exosomes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells as therapeutic nanoparticles for treatment of corneal epithelial defects

Shudan Wang1, *, , Yunlong Hou2,3, *, , Xuran Li1, , Zhen Song1, , Baoqi Sun4, , Xinyue Li1, , Hong Zhang1, ,

  • 1 Department of Ophthalmology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150001, China
  • 2 College of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Hebei University of Chinese Medicine, Shijiazhuang 050200, China
  • 3 National Key Laboratory of Collateral Disease Research and Innovative Chinese Medicine, Shijiazhuang 050200, China
  • 4 Department of Ophthalmology, Affiliated Hospital of Weifang Medical University, Weifang 261042, China
* Equal contribution

Received: April 24, 2020       Accepted: July 21, 2020       Published: October 13, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2020 Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Induced pluripotent stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells are pluripotent stem cells that represent promising therapies for treating various tissue injuries and wound healing. Exosomes are nanosized extracellular vesicles that have been identified as important mediators of therapeutic functions, which are performed via cell communication. In this study, we compared the efficacy of induced pluripotent stem cells-derived exosomes (iPSCs-Exos) and mesenchymal stem cells-derived exosomes (MSCs-Exos) in treating corneal epithelial defects. The characteristics of the two types of exosomes were not significantly different. Compared to MSCs-Exos, iPSCs-Exos had a better in vitro effect on the proliferation, migration, cell cycle promotion and apoptosis inhibition of human corneal epithelial cells. iPSCs/MSCs-Exos promoted cell regeneration by upregulating cyclin A and CDK2 to drive HCECs to enter the S phase from the G0/G1 phase. In vivo results from a corneal epithelial defect model showed that both iPSCs-Exos and MSCs-Exos accelerated corneal epithelium defect healing while the effects of iPSCs-Exos were much stronger than those of MSCs-Exos. This study demonstrated that iPSCs-Exos had a better therapeutic effect on corneal epithelial defect healing. Thus, a novel potential nanotherapeutic strategy for treating corneal epithelial defects and even more ocular surface disease could be undertaken by using iPSCs-Exos dissolved in eye drops.


AS-OCT: anterior segment optical coherence tomography; CCK-8: cell Counting Kit-8; CDKs: cyclin-dependent kinases; GAPDH: glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase; HCECs: Human corneal epithelial cells; H&E: hematoxylin and eosin; iPSCs: induced pluripotent stem cells; iPSCs-Exos: iPSCs-derived exosomes; LASIK: laser-in-situ keratomileusis; MSCs: mesenchymal stem cells; MSCs-Exos: MSCs-derived exosomes; NTA: nanoparticle tracking analysis; PBS: phosphate-buffered saline; PFA: paraformaldehyde; PI: propidium iodide; PTA: phosphotungstic acid; qRT-PCR: quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction; TEM: transmission electron microscopy.