Delivery of exosomes derived from stem cell populations has been demonstrated to improve recovery from injury in numerous studies and human applications. The interesting aspect of this demonstration in stroke recovery in pigs is that exosomes from neural stem cells provoke greater functional recovery without improving some of the structural changes that are normally associated with greater mortality and loss of function.
Researchers have presented brain imaging data for a new stroke treatment that supported full recovery in swine, modeled with the same pattern of neurodegeneration as seen in humans with severe stroke. The researchers report the first observational evidence during a midline shift - when the brain is being pushed to one side - to suggest that a minimally invasive and non-operative exosome treatment can now influence the repair and damage that follow a severe stroke.
Exosomes are considered to be powerful mediators of long-distance cell-to-cell communication that can change the behavior of tumor and neighboring cells. The results of the study echo findings from other recent studies using exosome technology. Many patients who suffer stroke exhibit a shift of the brain past its center line-the valley between the left and right part of the brain. Lesions or tumors will induce pressure or inflammation in the brain, causing what typically appears as a straight line to shift. "Based on results of the exosome treatment in swine, it doesn't look like lesion volume or the effects of a midline shift matter nearly as much as one would think. This suggests that, even in some extremely severe cases caused by stroke, you're still going to recover just as well."
Trauma from an acute stroke can happen quickly and can cause irreversible damage almost immediately. Data from the team's research showed that non-treated brain cells near the site of the stroke injury quickly starved from lack of oxygen and died - triggering a lethal action of damage signals throughout the brain network and potentially compromising millions of healthy cells. However, in brain areas treated with exosomes that were taken directly from cold storage and administered intravenously, these cells were able to penetrate the brain and interrupt the process of cell death.