Exosomes for Men
The term “exosomes” has frequently been in the news in recent years. They have been known to biologists since their discovery in the 1980s, but they remain something unknown to most other people. As their relevance in the pharmaceutical and medical field increases, we want to explain in simple ways what exosomes are, and why they are disrupting science.
What are exosomes?
A lot of people assume that exosomes are stem cells – but they are not. Exosomes are defined as very small extracellular vesicles that are produced and released from most mammalian cells. Vesicles are delimited particles that have a lipid bilayer around them to protect the cargo it is carrying. A simple way to imagine them is by thinking of little lipid bubbles that contain small molecules.
The purpose of exosomes is to transport molecules between the cell and its surrounding. In other words, the cell releases exosomes to communicate with other cells and tissues. Through exosomes, cells can manage physiological processes like coagulation, intercellular signaling, and waste management.
Exosomes are present in biological fluids like blood and urine, and can also be found in tissues.
How were exosomes discovered?
Exosomes were first discovered in 1983 in immature red blood cells by Stahl and his team as well as Johnstone et al. in the same year. The term “exosome” was coined by Johnstone a few years later.
These studies showed that intra-luminal vesicles (ILVs) generated in multivesicular bodies can be released to space outside the cell through fusion with the plasma membrane.
These insights, though impressive, did not spark much interest in exosomes within the scientific world for a few decades. It was not until the early 2000s when the potential of exosomes was recognized, which is evident when looking at the significant increase in publications (115 publications in 2006, 1010 publications in 2015).
What can exosomes carry?
Exosome content can be proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. The content of exosomes is not only cell-type-specific but also influenced by the condition of the cell. This means that depending on the health and current status of the cell, it will release different types of cargo into extracellular space.
One outstanding property of exosomes is that they can mediate regenerative outcomes after injuries or during acute phases of a disease if they are released from stem cells. Exosomes from mesenchymal stem cells, for instance, were found to activate several signaling pathways which are important in bone fracture repair and wound healing. These exosomes also participate in the regulation of immune-mediated responses and inflammatory diseases.
Exosomes have also been known to contain numerous disease-associated cargos, because they can be released from sources such as cancer cells, or carry neurodegenerative associated peptides.
Exosomes excel over other therapies to heal joint injuries, arthritis, correct erectile dysfunction, and more! Exosomes have an endosomal origin and are released by many different cell types, participating in different physiological and/or pathological processes.
Depending on their origin, they can alter the fate of recipient cells according to the information transferred.
Exosomes Therapy Improving Sexual Health and ED
Erectile dysfunction creates potentially embarrassing situations. Also, many relationships experience conflict over the effects of this condition. While certain medications exist to combat ED, some carry dangerous side effects preventing patients from using them.
The modern medical community is using exosome therapy for treating erectile dysfunction.
Recent studies are displaying that 99% of men who receive exosome treatment see a marked improvement in their condition. Fortunately, these improvements are still present even a year after the procedure – displaying long-term improvements.
In erectile dysfunction (ED), researchers reported in 2019 that exosomes purified from mesenchymal stem cells treat ED by inhibiting apoptosis in corpus cavernosum smooth muscle cells.
Age-related ED and exosomes
Exosomes can be a regenerative tonic to treat non-surgical causes of ED. Although the condition is increasingly prevalent with age, several age-related diseases are associated with high levels of ED. For example, the incidence of ED in men with diabetes is two- to three-fold higher than in the general population. Key factors contributing to ED include impaired blood circulation and nerve damage associated with diabetes.
Injections with exosomes are able to ameliorate diabetes-related ED because they promote penile neural regeneration, smooth muscle regeneration, and reduced collagen deposits, enhancing erectile function. Proangiogenic RNAs in the exosomes, promoting new blood vessel formation, is the potential mechanism behind the effect, the researchers conclude.
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