Researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill used exosomes, the vesicles that pass chemical messages between cells to transmit large therapeutic proteins across the blood-brain barrier to treat Parkinson's disease.
The blood-brain barrier prevents the passage of most therapeutic drugs to the organ. The barrier is very selective of what's allowed to pass through, but that does not hold good in the case of exosomes.
The investigators at Chapel Hill loaded used catalase, a powerful antioxidant into the exosomes, which were gathered from macrophage white blood cells. Delivering an antioxidant at the site of inflammation in the brain may be therapeutic as Parkinson's and many other neurological diseases cause inflammation in the brain.
The team sprayed the loaded exosomes on mice to test the delivery system and showed that they passed through the blood-brain barrier carrying the cargo. The brain cells readily took up the exosomes and the antioxidant provided significant neuro protective effects in vitro and in vivo models of Parkinson's Disease.
The study proved that exosome-based catalase formulations have a potential to be a versatile strategy to treat inflammatory and neurodegenerative disorders.