Scope: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative shows that females who drink milk regularly have less joint cartilage loss and OA progression, but the biologic mechanism is unclear. Bovine milk is a rich source of extracellular vesicles (EVs), which are small phospholipid bilayer bound structures that facilitate intercellular communication. In this study, the authors aim to evaluate whether these EVs may have the capacity to protect cartilage from osteoarthritis patients, ex vivo, by directly effecting chondrocytes. Methods and Results: Human cartilage explants are exposed to cow's milk-derived EVs (CMEVs), which results in reduced sulfated glycosaminoglycan release and inhibition of metalloproteinase-1 expression. Incubation of articular chondrocytes with CMEVs also effectively reduces expression of cartilage destructive enzymes (ADAMTS5, MMPs), which play key roles in the disease progression. In part, these findings are attributed to the presence of TGFβ on these vesicles, and in addition, a possible role is reserved for miR-148a, which is functionally transferred by CMEVs. Conclusion: These findings highlight the therapeutic potential of local CMEV delivery in osteoarthritic joints, where inflammatory and catabolic mediators are responsible for joint pathology. CMEVs are carriers of both TGFβ and miR-148a, two essential regulators for maintaining chondrocyte homeostasis and protection against cartilage destruction.
- extracellular vesicles