Cardiac-specific delivery by cardiac tissue-targeting peptide-expressing exosomes

Hyoeun Kim, Nuri Yun, Dasom Mun, Ji Young Kang, Seung Hyun Lee, Hyelim Park, Hyewon Park, Boyoung Joung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Naturally occurring RNA carriers such as exosomes might be an untapped source of effective delivery vehicles. However, if exosomes are to be exploited for therapeutic applications, they must target specific tissues or cell types to avoid off-target effects. This study evaluated whether genetic modification of exosomes could enhance exosome delivery to heart cells and heart tissue without toxicity. Exosomes expressing cardiac-targeting peptide (CTP)-Lamp2b on the exosomal membrane (CTP-Exo) were generated by introducing vectors encoding CTP-Lamp2b into HEK 293 cells. The expression of CTP-Lamp2b peptide on exosomes was stabilized by attaching glycosylation sequences. Exosomes expressing only Lamp2b on exosomal membranes (CTL-Exo) were generated as a control. The in vitro and in vivo uptake of CTL-Exo and CTP-Exo was evaluated in cell lines and mice. Both exosomes were delivered to HEK 293 and H9C2 cells. The delivery of the exosome was not different between CTP-Exo and CTL-Exo in HEK 293 cells, whereas the delivery of CTP-Exo was 16% greater than that of CTL-Exo in H9C2 cells (P = 0.047). Cell viability was maintained at almost 100% with different dosages of both CTL-Exo and CTP-Exo. Moreover, compared with CTL-Exo, the in vivo delivery of exosomes to the hearts of mice was increased by 15% with CTP-Exo (P = 0.035). The delivery to livers and spleens was not different between the two exosomes. Genetic modification of exosomes by expressing CTP-Lamp2b on the exosomal membrane enhanced exosome delivery to heart cells and the heart tissue. These results suggested that CTP-Exo might be used as a therapeutic tool for heart disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-808
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 23

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by research grants from the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea ( 2017R1A2B3003303 ) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( NRF-2017R1A2B3003303 ), and from the Korean Healthcare Technology R&D project funded by the Ministry of Health and Welfare ( HI16C0058 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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