Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles as Therapeutic Agents for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles as Therapeutic Agents for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Mairead Hyland, Claire Mennan, Karina Wright, Roshan Amarasena*, Emma Wilson#, Aled Clayton*#, Oksana Kehoe

(* RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; #University of Chester; *#Cardiff University)

Funded by the Orthopaedic Institute

This project aims to see if extracellular vesicles can be used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition which causes pain and swelling in joints. Research looking at mesenchymal stem cells has emerged as a promising treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, specifically umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. These stem cells work to reduce the inflammation by releasing tiny particles called extracellular vesicles. This project focuses on characterising these vesicles from the stem cells in order to understand how they can have an impact in our bodies to reduce inflammation. So far, extracellular vesicles have been successfully isolated from stem cells and the concentration, size and protein characteristics have also been identified.  Morphological evaluation of isolated EVs was performed by transmission electron microscopy and revealed a consistent sphere shape of vesicles (Figure 5). The next stage of this project explores the function of these extracellular vesicles on the blood from patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Specifically, it aims to see if these vesicles can supress inflammatory cells in the blood.

Soapbox Science event, Stoke-on-Trent, July 2019
Soapbox Science is a novel public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and the science they do. Stoke-on-Trent hosted the first ever Soapbox Science event in Hanley on 6th July 2019.

Dr Kehoe shared her work with the discussion topic “Could stem cells cure arthritis?”

Figure 5. Transmission electron microscopy imaging of isolated EVs.

Figure 6. Soapbox Science event at Stoke-on-Trent, July 2019.