Biofabrication of Cell-Derived Nanovesicles: A Potential Alternative to Extracellular Vesicles for Regenerative Medicine

Nazma Ilahibaks, Zhiyong Lei, AK Deshantri, L Jiang, Raymond Schiffelers, Pieter Vader, Joost P.G. Sluijter, Emma Mol

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Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are mediators of intercellular communication by transferring functional biomolecules from their originating cells to recipient cells. This intrinsic ability has gained EVs increased scientific interest in their use as a direct therapeutic in the field of regenerative medicine or as vehicles for drug delivery. EVs derived from stem cells or progenitor cells can act as paracrine mediators to promote repair and regeneration of damaged tissues. Despite substantial research efforts into EVs for various applications, their use remains limited by the lack of highly efficient and scalable production methods. Here, we present the biofabrication of cell-derived nanovesicles (NVs) as a scalable, efficient, and cost-effective production alternative to EVs. We demonstrate that NVs have a comparable size and morphology as EVs, but lack standard EV (surface) markers. Additionally, in vitro uptake experiments show that human fetal cardiac fibroblast, endothelial cells, and cardiomyocyte progenitor cells internalize NVs. We observed that cardiac progenitor cell-derived NVs and EVs are capable of activating mitogen-activated protein kinase 1/2 (MAPK1/2)-extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and that both NVs and EVs derived from A431 and HEK293 cells can functionally deliver Cre-recombinase mRNA or protein to other cells. These observations indicate that NVs may have similar functional properties as EVs. Therefore, NVs have the potential to be applied for therapeutic delivery and regenerative medicine purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1509
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2019


  • biofabrication
  • cell-derived nanovesicles
  • extracellular vesicles
  • regenerative medicine
  • therapeutic delivery


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