Abstract: As evidenced by ongoing clinical trials and increased activity in the commercial sector, extracellular vesicle (EV)-based therapies have begun the transition from bench to bedside. As this progression continues, one critical aspect to EV clinical translation is understanding the effects of storage and transport conditions. Several studies have assessed the impact of storage on EV characteristics such as morphology, uptake, and component content, but effects of storage duration and temperature on EV functional bioactivity and, especially, loaded cargo are scarcely reported. Here, EV outcomes following storage at different temperatures (room temperature, 4°C, -20°C, -80°C) for various durations as well as after lyophilization were assessed. Mesenchymal stem/stromal cell (MSC) EVs were observed to retain key aspects of their bioactivity (pro-vascularization, anti-inflammation) for up to 4-6 weeks at -20°C, -80°C, and after lyophilization. Furthermore, via in vitro assays and an in vivo wound healing model respectively, these same storage conditions were also demonstrated to enable preservation of the functionality of loaded microRNA (miRNA) as well as long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) cargo in MSC EVs. These findings extend the current understanding of how EV therapeutic potential is impacted by storage conditions and may inform best practices for handling and storage of MSC EVs for both basic research and translational purposes.
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