Human pluripotent stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles: From now to the future

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanometric particles that enclose cell-derived bioactive molecules in a lipid bilayer and serve as intercellular communication tools. Accordingly, in various biological contexts, EVs are reported to engage in immune modulation, senescence, and cell proliferation and differentiation. Therefore, EVs could be key elements for potential off-the-shelf cell-free therapy. Little has been studied regarding EVs derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-EVs), even though hPSCs offer good opportunities for induction of tissue regeneration and unlimited proliferative ability. In this review article, we provide an overview of studies using hPSC-EVs, focusing on identifying the conditions in which the cells are cultivated for the isolation of EVs, how they are characterized, and applications already demonstrated. The topics reported in this article highlight the incipient status of the studies in the field and the significance of hPSC-EVs’ prospective applications as PSC-derived cell-free therapy products.

Key Words: Pluripotent stem cells, Extracellular vesicles, Exosome, Cell-free therapy

Core Tip: The research on extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from different cell types, such as adult stem cells, has shown potential in the treatment of various pathologies. However, little has been explored regarding EVs derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-EVs). In this review, we provide an overview of studies carried out on these EVs, highlighting methodologies used for the culture of hPSCs for isolating EVs, their characteristics, and potential applications. We note the potential of hPSC-EVs as future acellular therapies. However, studies are in the infancy, and more research is needed to confirm their benefits.