DOI: 10.1302/1358-992x.2024.2.013 ISSN: 1358-992X


M. Clerici, M.C. Ciardulli, N.R. Forsyth, N. Maffulli, G. Della Porta

Tendon injuries are a common problem that can significantly impact an individual's quality of life. While traditional surgical methods have been used to address this issue, Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) have emerged as a promising approach to promote tendon repair and regeneration mechanisms, as they deliver specific biological signals to neighbouring cells. In this study, we extracted human Tendon Progenitor Stem cells (hTPSCs) from surgery explants and isolated their EVs from perfused and static media.

hTPSCs were isolated from tendon surgery biopsy (Review Board prot./SCCE n.151, 29/10/2020) and cultured in both static and dynamic conditions, using a perfusion bioreactor (1ml/min). When cells reached 80% confluence, they were switched into a serum-free medium for 24 hours for EVs-production. Conditioned media was ultra-centrifuged for 90min (100000g). The recovered pellet was then characterized by size and concentration (Nanosight NS300), Zeta potential (Mastersizer S), morphology (SEM and TEM) and protein quantification.

hTPSCs stemness and multipotency were confirmed through CD73, CD90, and CD105 expression and confirmation of quad-lineage (adipo-osteo-chondro-teno) differentiation. After 7 days, hTPSCs were ready for EVs-production. Ultracentrifugation revealed the presence of particles with a concentration of 7×107 particles/mL consistent across both cultures. Further characterization indicated that EVs collected from perfused conditions displayed an elevated vesicle mean size (mean 143±6.5 nm) in comparison to static conditions (mean 112±7.4 nm). Consistent with, but not in proportion with, the above protein content was measured at 20 ng/ml (dynamic) and 7 ng/mL (static) indicating a nearly 3-fold increase in concentration associated with a ~22% increase in particle size.

Proposed data showed that sub-200 diameter vesicles were successfully collected from multipotent hTPSCs starvation, and the vesicle size and protein concentration were compatible with established EV literature; furthermore, dynamic culture conditions seemed more suitable for EVs-production. Further characterization will be required to better understand, EVs-compositions and their role in tendon regenerative events.

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