What are Exosomes and Why Are They Important?

Exosomes have the appearance of tiny bubbles being released from stem cells.

They can also be called extracellular vesicles. Exosomes transport DNA and protein to other cells throughout the body. They function as messengers for the cells, allowing stem cells to communicate with each other. Simply put, exosomes carry information to cells with different functions and purposes. They also alert cells how to react and when to react.

They also have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.

How Do Exosomes Differ from Stem Cells?

Exosomes used for regenerative therapy come from stem cells. While they do perform many of the same important functions of stem cells, they are different.

The use of stem cells went mainstream during the early 2000s. Adult stem cells have been used therapeutically to help treat disease or heal damage in the body. The most common type of adult stem cell is the mesenchymal stem cell (“MSC”).

After a period of time, it became clear that adult stem cells seldom promote new tissue growth. However, they do perform the very important function of cell signaling. The cells that will heal the body are thought to already be present, but require notification to do this. Recent research has shown that exosomes are an effective way for stem cells to deliver these signals.

Exosomes that are from stem cells, such as MSCs, seem to have powerful effects such as anti-inflammatory properties, scar tissue prevention, and a healthy immune system.

What is Exosome Therapy?

Exosomes are being studied for many types of therapy, especially for use in patients suffering from chronic diseases or autoimmune disorders. Since exosomes are made using stem cells, they induce high levels of cytokines, which act as an anti-inflammatory.

We know that exosome therapy has much potential. In fact, it is now being studied in cancer cell-derived exosomes to see if any potential drugs can be harvested from stem cells. Following purification, the exosomes can be given by injection or infusion.

What Are Benefits of Exosome Therapy?

As time passes and more research is conducted, there seem to be some benefits to exosome therapy. Some patients report less inflammation, which has led researchers to hypothesize that exosomes may play a part in helping to treat or slow disease progression.

Exosome therapy may carry less risk than live stem cell treatments. Since exosomes are not cells and contain no cellular material, they lack the potential to replicate or transform into harmful cell types.

Other neurologic diseases such as Parkinson’s may also benefit from this. Exosomes contain material to regenerate genes and deliver protein and lipid cellular building blocks to help restore cellular health.

What are the Risks?

While it’s possible for the body to reject exosomes that are administered, this is unlikely since exosomes aren’t cells or tissues.

Therefore, the body does not react to them in the same way as it would with a foreign substance. Clinical trials are studying the potential risks and seeing how long exosomes stay in the body following administration, so many are giving a small test dose before a larger one.

How are exosomes used in aesthetics?

Since exosomes have the ability to regenerate, they can help to repair and rebuild tissue anywhere in the body, even the skin. By using exosomes in conjunction with other treatments, the potential is there to rebuild.

Exosomes also function as nanoparticles, and are easily absorbed through the skin. Therefore, no injection is required.

Exosome treatment can be used along with microneedling, Morpheus8, Lumecca, chemical peels, dermabrasion, or hydrafacials. When used following these treatments, the exosomes can penetrate the deeper layers of the skin to help begin the regeneration process. You will continue to see results during the 3-6 months post treatment.