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International Journal of Rheumatology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 573528, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/573528
Review Article

Immunosuppressive Exosomes: A New Approach for Treating Arthritis

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA

Received 4 October 2011; Accepted 16 December 2011

Academic Editor: Simone Appenzeller

Copyright © 2012 Chenjie Yang and Paul D. Robbins. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease and one of the leading causes of disability in the USA. Although certain biological therapies, including protein and antibodies targeting inflammatory factors such as the tumor necrosis factor, are effective in reducing symptoms of RA, these treatments do not reverse disease. Also, although novel gene therapy approaches have shown promise in preclinical and clinical studies to treat RA, it is still unclear whether gene therapy can be readily and safely applied to treat the large number of RA patients. Recently, nanosized, endocytic-derived membrane vesicles “exosomes” were demonstrated to function in cell-to-cell communication and to possess potent immunoregulatory properties. In particular, immunosuppressive DC-derived exosomes and blood plasma- or serum-derived exosomes have shown potent therapeutic effects in animal models of inflammatory and autoimmune disease including RA. This paper discusses the current knowledge on the production, efficacy, mechanism of action, and potential therapeutic use of immunosuppressive exosomes for arthritis therapy.