Morad G, Carman CV, Hagedorn EJ, Perlin JR, Zon LI, Mustafaoglu N, Park TE, Ingber DE, Daisy CC, Moses MA. 2019. Tumor-Derived Extracellular Vesicles Breach the Intact Blood-Brain Barrier Transcytosis. ACS nano. 13(12):13853-13865. Pubmed: 31479239 DOI:10.1021/acsnano.9b04397


The restrictive nature of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) creates a major challenge for brain drug delivery with current nanomedicines lacking the ability to cross the BBB. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been shown to contribute to the progression of a variety of brain diseases including metastatic brain cancer and have been suggested as promising therapeutics and drug delivery vehicles. However, the ability of native tumor-derived EVs to breach the BBB and the mechanism(s) involved in this process remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that tumor-derived EVs can breach the intact BBB , and by using state-of-the-art and models of the BBB, we have identified transcytosis as the mechanism underlying this process. Moreover, high spatiotemporal resolution microscopy demonstrated that the endothelial recycling endocytic pathway is involved in this transcellular transport. We further identify and characterize the mechanism by which tumor-derived EVs circumvent the low physiologic rate of transcytosis in the BBB by decreasing the brain endothelial expression of rab7 and increasing the efficiency of their transport. These findings identify previously unknown mechanisms by which tumor-derived EVs breach an intact BBB during the course of brain metastasis and can be leveraged to guide and inform the development of drug delivery approaches to deliver therapeutic cargoes across the BBB for treatment of a variety of brain diseases including, but not limited to, brain malignancies.

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Photo of Len Zon

The Zon laboratory aims to dissect how assaults to the hematopoietic system cause severe diseases such as leukemias, lymphomas, and anemias. They investigate hematopoietic development and disease using chemical screens, genetic screens, and analysis of novel transgenic lines in zebrafish.

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