Ruenn Chai Lai

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore

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Publications (22)87.64 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cell-conditioned medium (MSC-CM) has been shown to have protective effects against various cellular injury models. This mechanism of protection, however, has yet to be elucidated. Recently, exosomes have been identified as the active component in MSC-CM. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of MSC-derived exosomes in an established carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) induced liver injury mouse model. This potential effect is then validated using in vitro xenobiotic-induced liver injury assays: (1) acetaminophen (APAP)- and (2) hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced liver injury.
    Stem cell research & therapy. 06/2014; 5(3):76.
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    Bin Zhang, Yijun Yin, Ruenn Chai Lai, Sai Kiang Lim
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    ABSTRACT: Extracellular vesicle or EV is a term that encompasses all classes of secreted lipid membrane vesicles. Despite being scientific novelties, EVs are gaining importance as a mediator of important physiological and pathological intercellular activities possibly through the transfer of their cargo of protein and RNA between cells. In particular, exosomes, the currently best characterized EVs have been notable for their in vitro and in vivo immunomodulatory activities. Exosomes are nanometer-sized endosome-derived vesicles secreted by many cell types and their immunomodulatory potential is independent of their cell source. Besides immune cells such as dendritic cells, macrophages, and T cells, cancer and stem cells also secrete immunologically active exosomes that could influence both physiological and pathological processes. The immunological activities of exosomes affect both innate and adaptive immunity and include antigen presentation, T cell activation, T cell polarization to regulatory T cells, immune suppression, and anti-inflammation. As such, exosomes carry much immunotherapeutic potential as a therapeutic agent and a therapeutic target.
    Frontiers in Immunology 01/2014; 5:518.
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    ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) has been shown to secrete exosomes that are cardioprotective. Here we demonstrated that MSC exosome, a secreted membrane vesicle is immunologically active. MSC exosomes induced polymyxin-resistant, MYD88-dependent SEAP expression in a THP1-Xblue, a THP-1 reporter cell line with an NFκB-SEAP reporter gene. In contrast to LPS, they induced high levels of anti-inflammatory IL-10 and TGF-β at 3 and 72 hours, and much attenuated levels of pro-inflammatory IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and IL-12p40 at 3-hour. The 3-hour but not 72-hour induction of cytokine was abrogated by MyD88 deficiency. Primary human and mouse monocytes exhibited a similar exosome-induced cytokine profile. Exosome-treated THP-1 but not MyD88-deficient THP-1 cells polarized activated CD4+ T cells to CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) at a ratio of one exosome-treated THP-1 cell to 1000 CD4+ T cells. Infusion of MSC exosomes enhanced survival of allogenic skin graft in mice and increased Tregs.
    Stem cells and development 12/2013; · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The therapeutic efficacy of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation has recently been attributed to exosomes when a single bolus of MSC exosomes prior to reperfusion of ischemic myocardium ameliorates reperfusion injury and reduces infarct size. In this article we review the therapeutic efficacy of MSC exosome in ameliorating cell intrinsic factors in reperfusion injury by focusing on the proteome complementation of exosomes and reperfused myocardium. The well-documented ATP deficit and initiation of apoptosis during ischemia and reperfusion were recently found to be underpinned by a proteomic deficit in enzymes critical for fatty acid oxidation, glycolysis and tricarboxylic acid cycle, and a proteomic surplus of proapoptotic proteins. Interestingly, this deficit in glycolytic enzymes was complemented by an abundance in MSC exosomes and the surplus of proapoptotic proteins was circumvented by CD73 that could increase survival signaling through the activation of reperfusion injury salvage kinases. Together, this provides a window of opportunity for the cells to repair and regenerate thus constituting the rationale for the therapeutic efficacy of MSC exosomes.
    Regenerative Medicine 03/2013; 8(2):197-209. · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously identified exosomes as the paracrine factor secreted by mesenchymal stem cells. Recently, we found that the key features of reperfusion injury, namely loss of ATP/NADH, increased oxidative stress and cell death were underpinned by proteomic deficiencies in ischemic/reperfused myocardium, and could be ameliorated by proteins in exosomes. To test this hypothesis in vivo, mice (C57Bl6/J) underwent 30min ischemia, followed by reperfusion (I/R injury). Purified exosomes or saline was administered 5min before reperfusion. Exosomes reduced infarct size by 45% compared to saline treatment. Langendorff experiments revealed that intact but not lysed exosomes enhanced viability of the ischemic/reperfused myocardium. Exosome treated animals exhibited significant preservation of left ventricular geometry and contractile performance during 28days follow-up. Within an hour after reperfusion, exosome treatment increased levels of ATP and NADH, decreased oxidative stress, increased phosphorylated-Akt and phosphorylated-GSK-3β, and reduced phosphorylated-c-JNK in ischemic/reperfused hearts. Subsequently, both local and systemic inflammation were significantly reduced 24h after reperfusion. In conclusion, our study shows that intact exosomes restore bioenergetics, reduce oxidative stress and activate pro-survival signaling, thereby enhancing cardiac function and geometry after myocardial I/R injury. Hence, mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes are a potential adjuvant to reperfusion therapy for myocardial infarction.
    Stem Cell Research 01/2013; 10(3):301-312. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) was previously shown to secrete lipid vesicles that when purified by high performance liquid chromatography as a population of homogenously sized particles with a hydrodynamic radius of 55-65 nm reduce infarct size in a mouse model of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury. As these vesicles exhibit many biophysical and biochemical properties of exosomes, they were identified as exosomes. Here we investigated if these lipid vesicles were indeed exosomes that have an endosomal biogenesis. In most cells, endocytosis is thought to occur at specialized microdomains known as lipid rafts. To demonstrate an endosomal origin for MSC exosomes, MSCs were pulsed with ligands e.g. transferrin (Tfs) and Cholera Toxin B (CTB) that bind receptors in lipid rafts. The endocytosed ligands were then chased to determine if they were incorporated into the exosomes. A fraction of exogenous Tfs was found to recycle into MSC exosomes. When MSCs were pulsed with labelled Tfs in the presence of chlorpromazine, an inhibitor of clathrin-mediated endocytosis, Tf incorporation in CD81-immunoprecipitate was reduced during the chase. CTB which binds GM1 gangliosides that are enriched in lipid rafts extracted exosome-associated proteins, CD81, CD9, Alix and Tsg101 from MSC-conditioned medium. Exogenous CTBs were pulse-chased into secreted vesicles. Extraction of Tf- or CTB-binding vesicles in an exosome preparation mutually depleted each other. Inhibition of sphingomyelinases reduced CTB-binding vesicles. Together, our data demonstrated that MSC exosomes are derived from endocytosed lipid rafts and that their protein cargo includes exosome-associated proteins CD81, CD9, Alix and Tsg101.
    Journal of extracellular vesicles. 01/2013; 2.
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    ABSTRACT: Exosomes are the most extensively characterized class of secreted membrane vesicles that carry proteins and RNAs for intercellular communication. They are increasingly seen as possible alternatives to liposomes as drug delivery vehicles. Like liposomes, they could deliver their cargo across the plasma membrane and provide a barrier against premature transformation and elimination. In addition, these naturally-occurring secreted membrane vesicles are less toxic and better tolerated in the body as evidenced by their ubiquitous presence in biological fluids, and have an intrinsic homing ability. They are also amenable to in vivo and in vitro loading of therapeutic agents, and membrane modifications to enhance tissue-specific homing. Here we propose human mesenchymal stem cells as the ideal cell source of exosomes for drug delivery. Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation for various disease indications has been extensively tested and shown to be safe in numerous clinical trials. These cells are also prolific producers of immunologically inert exosomes. Immortalization of these cells does not compromise the quantity or quality of exosome production, thus enabling infinite and reproducible exosome production from a single cell clone.
    Biotechnology advances 08/2012; · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Advances in biomedical research have generated an unprecedented number of potential targets for therapeutic intervention to treat disease or delay disease progression. Unfortunately, many of these targets are not druggable as they are intracellular, present in many cell types, poorly soluble or rapidly inactivated. Although synthetic drug vehicles have successfully circumvented many of these problems, natural particulates such as exosomes that intrinsically possess many attributes of a drug delivery vehicle are highly attractive as potentially better alternatives. Of the cell types known to produce exosomes, the readily available proliferative, immunosuppressive and clinically tested human mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) is the most prolific producer. Its exosomes are therapeutic in animal model of disease and exhibit immunosuppressive activity. The quality and quantity of exosome production is not compromised by immortalization to create a permanent MSC cell line. Therefore, MSC is well suited for mass production of exosomes that are ideal for drug delivery.
    Advanced drug delivery reviews 07/2012; · 11.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are used in many of the current stem cell-based clinical trials and their therapeutic efficacy has increasingly been attributed to secretion of paracrine factors. We have previously demonstrated that a therapeutic constituent of this secretion is exosome, a secreted bilipid membrane vesicle of ~50-100 nm with a complex cargo that is readily internalized by H9C2 cardiomyocytes. It reduces infarct size in a mouse model of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (MI/R) injury. We postulate that this therapeutic efficacy is derived from the synergy of a select permutation of individual exosome components. To identify protein candidates in this permutation, the proteome was profiled and here we identified 20S proteasome as a protein candidate. Mass spectrometry analysis detected all seven α and seven β chains of the 20S proteasome, and also the three beta subunits of "immunoproteasome" with a very high confidence level. We demonstrated that a functional proteasome copurified with MSC exosomes with a density of 1.10-1.18 g/mL, and its presence correlated with a modest but significant reduction in oligomerized protein in a mouse model of myocardial infarction. Circulating proteasomes in human blood also copurified with exosomes. Therefore, 20S proteasome is a candidate exosome protein that could synergize with other constituents to ameliorate tissue damage.
    International journal of proteomics. 01/2012; 2012:971907.
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    ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are used in many of the current stem cell-based clinical trials and their therapeutic efficacy has increasingly been attributed to secretion of paracrine factors. We have previously demonstrated that a therapeutic constituent of this secretion is exosome, a secreted bilipid membrane vesicle of ~50-100 nm with a complex cargo that is readily internalized by H9C2 cardiomyocytes. It reduces infarct size in a mouse model of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (MI/R) injury. We postulate that this therapeutic efficacy is derived from the synergy of a select permutation of individual exosome components. To identify protein candidates in this permutation, the proteome was profiled and here we identified 20S proteasome as a protein candidate. Mass spectrometry analysis detected all seven α and seven β chains of the 20S proteasome, and also the three beta subunits of "immunoproteasome" with a very high confidence level. We demonstrated that a functional proteasome copurified with MSC exosomes with a density of 1.10-1.18 g/mL, and its presence correlated with a modest but significant reduction in oligomerized protein in a mouse model of myocardial infarction. Circulating proteasomes in human blood also copurified with exosomes. Therefore, 20S proteasome is a candidate exosome protein that could synergize with other constituents to ameliorate tissue damage.
    International journal of proteomics. 01/2012; 2012:971907.
  • Ruenn Chai Lai, Tian Sheng Chen, Sai Kiang Lim
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular disease is a major target for many experimental stem cell-based therapies and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are widely used in these therapies. Transplantation of MSCs to treat cardiac disease has always been predicated on the hypothesis that these cells would engraft, differentiate and replace damaged cardiac tissues. However, experimental or clinical observations so far have failed to demonstrate a therapeutically relevant level of transplanted MSC engraftment or differentiation. Instead, they indicate that transplanted MSCs secrete factors to reduce tissue injury and/or enhance tissue repair. Here we review the evidences supporting this hypothesis including the recent identification of exosome as a therapeutic agent in MSC secretion. In particular, we will discuss the potential and practicality of using this relatively novel entity as a therapeutic modality for the treatment of cardiac disease, particularly acute myocardial infarction.
    Regenerative Medicine 07/2011; 6(4):481-92. · 3.87 Impact Factor
  • Ruenn Chai Lai, Andre Choo, Sai Kiang Lim
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    ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells that have been isolated from numerous sources including human embryonic stem cells (hES). Derivation from hES is unique in that hES must be differentiated. In our hands, trypsinizing hES into single cells and plating them on gelatin coated plates in a DMEM medium supplemented with serum replacement media and FGF2 with either PDGF AB or EGF will induce differentiation of hES and selectively enhance the survival of MSCs over hES. Repeated passaging by trypsinization results in a highly enriched MSC culture. Enriched MSC cultures can be further purified to homogeneity by limiting dilution or FACS sorting for a CD105+ or CD73+ and CD24- cell population. The resulting hES-MSCs fulfill the ISCT minimal defining criteria for human MSCs, namely adherence to plastic, a surface antigen expression profile of CD29+, CD44+, CD49a+ CD49e+, CD73+, CD105+, CD166+, CD34-, CD45-, and a differentiation potential that includes adipogenesis, osteogenesis, and chondrogenesis. Finally, hES-MSCs can be extensively and stably propagated. This method of deriving hES-MSCs without the need for a xenogeneic feeder and use of animal serum could be used to derive clinically compliant MSCs from hESCs.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2011; 698:141-50. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies suggest that the therapeutic effects of stem cell transplantation following myocardial infarction (MI) are mediated by paracrine factors. One of the main goals in the treatment of ischemic heart disease is to stimulate vascular repair mechanisms. Here, we sought to explore the therapeutic angiogenic potential of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) secretions. Human MSC secretions were collected as conditioned medium (MSC-CM) using a clinically compliant protocol. Based on proteomic and pathway analysis of MSC-CM, an in vitro assay of HUVEC spheroids was performed identifying the angiogenic properties of MSC-CM. Subsequently, pigs were subjected to surgical left circumflex coronary artery ligation and randomized to intravenous MSC-CM treatment or non-CM (NCM) treatment for 7 days. Three weeks after MI, myocardial capillary density was higher in pigs treated with MSC-CM (645 ± 114 vs 981 ± 55 capillaries/mm(2); P = 0.021), which was accompanied by reduced myocardial infarct size and preserved systolic and diastolic performance. Intravenous MSC-CM treatment after myocardial infarction increases capillary density and preserves cardiac function, probably by increasing myocardial perfusion.
    Stem Cell Research 01/2011; 6(3):206-14. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Exosomes or secreted bi-lipid vesicles from human ESC-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hESC-MSCs) have been shown to reduce myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury in animal models. However, as hESC-MSCs are not infinitely expansible, large scale production of these exosomes would require replenishment of hESC-MSC through derivation from hESCs and incur recurring costs for testing and validation of each new batch. Our aim was therefore to investigate if MYC immortalization of hESC-MSC would circumvent this constraint without compromising the production of therapeutically efficacious exosomes. The hESC-MSCs were transfected by lentivirus carrying a MYC gene. The transformed cells were analyzed for MYC transgene integration, transcript and protein levels, and surface markers, rate of cell cycling, telomerase activity, karyotype, genome-wide gene expression and differentiation potential. The exosomes were isolated by HPLC fractionation and tested in a mouse model of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury, and infarct sizes were further assessed by using Evans' blue dye injection and TTC staining. MYC-transformed MSCs largely resembled the parental hESC-MSCs with major differences being reduced plastic adherence, faster growth, failure to senesce, increased MYC protein expression, and loss of in vitro adipogenic potential that technically rendered the transformed cells as non-MSCs. Unexpectedly, exosomes from MYC-transformed MSCs were able to reduce relative infarct size in a mouse model of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury indicating that the capacity for producing therapeutic exosomes was preserved. Our results demonstrated that MYC transformation is a practical strategy in ensuring an infinite supply of cells for the production of exosomes in the milligram range as either therapeutic agents or delivery vehicles. In addition, the increased proliferative rate by MYC transformation reduces the time for cell production and thereby reduces production costs.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 01/2011; 9:47. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    Stem Cell Research 09/2010; 5(2):170-171. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Under hypoxia, tumor cells produce a secretion that modulates their microenvironment to facilitate tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Here, we observed that hypoxic or reoxygenated A431 carcinoma cells exhibited enhanced angiogenic and metastatic potential such as reduced cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix adhesion, increased invasiveness, and production of a secretion with increased chorioallantoic membrane angiogenic activity. Consistent with these observations, quantitative proteomics revealed that under hypoxia the tumor cells secreted proteins involved in angiogenesis, focal adhesion, extracellular matrix-receptor interaction, and immune cell recruitment. Unexpectedly, the secreted proteins were predominantly cytoplasmic and membrane proteins. Ultracentrifugation at 100,000 x g precipitated 54% of the secreted proteins and enriched for many exosome-associated proteins such as the tetraspanins and Alix and also proteins with the potential to facilitate angiogenesis and metastasis. Two tetraspanins, CD9 and CD81, co-immunoprecipitated. Together, these data suggested that tumor cells secrete proteins and exosomes with the potential to modulate their microenvironment and facilitate angiogenesis and metastasis.
    Molecular &amp Cellular Proteomics 06/2010; 9(6):1085-99. · 7.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The therapeutic effects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) transplantation are increasingly thought to be mediated by MSC secretion. We have previously demonstrated that human ESC-derived MSCs (hESC-MSCs) produce cardioprotective microparticles in pig model of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (MI/R) injury. As the safety and availability of clinical grade human ESCs remain a concern, MSCs from fetal tissue sources were evaluated as alternatives. Here we derived five MSC cultures from limb, kidney and liver tissues of three first trimester aborted fetuses and like our previously described hESC-derived MSCs; they were highly expandable and had similar telomerase activities. Each line has the potential to generate at least 10(16-19) cells or 10(7-10) doses of cardioprotective secretion for a pig model of MI/R injury. Unlike previously described fetal MSCs, they did not express pluripotency-associated markers such as Oct4, Nanog or Tra1-60. They displayed a typical MSC surface antigen profile and differentiated into adipocytes, osteocytes and chondrocytes in vitro. Global gene expression analysis by microarray and qRT-PCR revealed a typical MSC gene expression profile that was highly correlated among the five fetal MSC cultures and with that of hESC-MSCs (r(2)>0.90). Like hESC-MSCs, they produced secretion that was cardioprotective in a mouse model of MI/R injury. HPLC analysis of the secretion revealed the presence of a population of microparticles with a hydrodynamic radius of 50-65 nm. This purified population of microparticles was cardioprotective at approximately 1/10 dosage of the crude secretion.
    Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 06/2010; 48(6):1215-24. · 5.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human ESC-derived mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-conditioned medium (CM) was previously shown to mediate cardioprotection during myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury through large complexes of 50–100 nm. Here we show that these MSCs secreted 50-to 100-nm particles. These particles could be visualized by electron microscopy and were shown to be phospholipid vesicles consisting of cholesterol, sphingomyelin, and phosphatidylcholine. They contained coimmunoprecipitating exosome-associated proteins, e.g., CD81, CD9, and Alix. These particles were purified as a homogeneous population of particles with a hydrodynamic radius of 55–65 nm by size-exclusion fractionation on a HPLC. Together these observations indicated that these particles are exosomes. These purified exosomes reduced infarct size in a mouse model of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury. Therefore, MSC mediated its cardioprotective paracrine effect by secreting exosomes. This novel role of exosomes highlights a new perspective into intercellular mediation of tissue injury and repair, and engenders novel approaches to the development of biologics for tissue repair. a v a i l a b l e a t w w w . s c i e n c e d i r e c t . c o m w w w . e l s e v i e r . c o m / l o c a t e / s c r
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    ABSTRACT: Human ESC-derived mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-conditioned medium (CM) was previously shown to mediate cardioprotection during myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury through large complexes of 50-100 nm. Here we show that these MSCs secreted 50- to 100-nm particles. These particles could be visualized by electron microscopy and were shown to be phospholipid vesicles consisting of cholesterol, sphingomyelin, and phosphatidylcholine. They contained coimmunoprecipitating exosome-associated proteins, e.g., CD81, CD9, and Alix. These particles were purified as a homogeneous population of particles with a hydrodynamic radius of 55-65 nm by size-exclusion fractionation on a HPLC. Together these observations indicated that these particles are exosomes. These purified exosomes reduced infarct size in a mouse model of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury. Therefore, MSC mediated its cardioprotective paracrine effect by secreting exosomes. This novel role of exosomes highlights a new perspective into intercellular mediation of tissue injury and repair, and engenders novel approaches to the development of biologics for tissue repair.
    Stem Cell Research 01/2010; 4(3):214-22. · 4.47 Impact Factor