Exosomes mediate an epithelial-mesenchymal transition cascade in retinal pigment epithelial cells: Implications for proliferative vitreoretinopathy

Date Published:

2020 Oct 13


Exosomes have recently emerged as a pivotal mediator of many physiological and pathological processes. However, the role of exosomes in proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) has not been reported. In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of exosomes in PVR. Transforming growth factor beta 2 (TGFß-2) was used to induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, as an in vitro model of PVR. Exosomes from normal and EMTed RPE cells were extracted and identified. We incubated extracted exosomes with recipient RPE cells, and co-cultured EMTed RPE cells and recipient RPE cells in the presence of the exosome inhibitor GW4869. Both experiments suggested that there are further EMT-promoting effects of exosomes from EMTed RPE cells. MicroRNA sequencing was also performed to identify the miRNA profiles in exosomes from both groups. We identified 34 differentially expressed exosomal miRNAs (P <. 05). Importantly, miR-543 was found in exosomes from EMTed RPE cells, and miR-543-enriched exosomes significantly induced the EMT of recipient RPE cells. Our study demonstrates that exosomal miRNA is differentially expressed in RPE cells during EMT and that these exosomal miRNAs may play pivotal roles in EMT induction. Our results highlight the importance of exosomes as cellular communicators within the microenvironment of PVR.

Last updated on 11/01/2020