Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Physiology and Biophysics

First Advisor

Zhao Lin

Second Advisor

Liya Qiao

Third Advisor

Esra Sahingur


Bone defects are a pervasive complication arising from many clinical conditions, both mechanical and pathological. Current treatments for large bony defects focus on applying bone grafts or synthetic materials to the defect area. Cell-based—and especially stem-cell—therapies have advanced greatly thanks to increasing attention focused on their ability to generate new tissues in situ with biomechanical properties approaching that of native tissue, but they suffer from their own shortcomings as well. Exosomes have been shown to play critical roles in cell-signaling and tissue regeneration and are therefore potentially ideal therapeutic vehicles for treating bone defects. Exosomes are small microvesicles counted amongst stem cells’ paracrine factors capable of delivering nucleic acid and enzymatic protein cargoes in a targeted 2 manner. Our previous studies have shown that hMSC-Exosomes are both proliferative and chemotactic, inhibit inflammatory cytokine production, and suppress osteoclast differentiation. Our long term goal is to develop hMSC-Exosome as a clinical therapy for bone regeneration. The objectives of this study were to determine the ability of hMSC-Exosome to enhance bone healing in a rat calvarial defect model, and to further investigate the integrity of the exosome under certain storage conditions. The specific aims of this study were: 1) To determine the osteogenic potential of hMSC-Exosomes in rat calvarial defects, and 2) To determine the impact of variable storage conditions on the integrity of exosomes. To investigate in vivo regenerative potential, rats with surgically-created craniotomy defects were treated with hMSC-Exosome suspension via a collagen gel matrix. After 4 weeks, the calvaria were harvested and analyzed via micro-CT. Volumetric micro-CT analysis showed that hMSC-Exosome could significantly enhance center healing, structural integrity, and growth uniformity in a calvarial defect model. Western blot and TEM showed thorough destruction of surface protein markers and decreased membrane integrity in lyophilized exosome fraction; moderate progressive surface protein marker loss and aggregation were observed with increasing freeze-thaw cycles. In summary, hMSC-Exosome is a promising therapeutic for treatment of bone defects.


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Available for download on Tuesday, May 07, 2024