Article at a Glance
- Exosomes are extracellular vesicles which help cells repair and detoxify themselves.
- Research has found several anti-aging applications for exosomes.
- Several exosomal therapies are currently in use for a variety of conditions.
Using exosomes for anti-aging might be the future of rejuvenation. It certainly seems to be the next stage in the evolution of rejuvenative therapy. This is especially the case for those with an interest in stem cell therapy and the benefits it brings. But what are exosomes? How are they different fromstem cells? And how can they help? Let’s find out!
What Exactly Are Exosomes?
Our human cells are made up of various components with different functions called organelles. Exosomes are formed when these organelles fuse with the cell wall and tiny parts bud off from the cell. These buds carry some of its contents, such as proteins and RNA.
Stem cell-derived exosomes have been used to repair aging body tissues, as they have displayed remarkable regenerative activity. They have been found to influence cells to heal themselves, and they also play a role in removing cellular cytotoxins [R]. The exosomes being used as treatment are purchased from biotech companies that do the harvesting. They are not harvested from the patients who are going to use them for treatment.
Below are a few ways that exosomes are currently being used to halt or reverse age-related conditions.
Given time, human skin will start to manifest physical signs of aging such as wrinkling. This is caused by an impaired ability to regenerate critical skin components [R]. Exosomes may hold the key to slowing this process because they work on a cellular level to promote skin cell regeneration.
In the lab, exosomes have been successfully used to slow the onset of skin aging. They do this by promoting the proliferation of fibroblast cells which are vital to maintaining skin strength and elasticity [R]. While studies have yet to be done on humans, exosomes are already being used in facials at anti-aging clinics. Additionally, there are exosome-based moisturizers available commercially [R].
Minimizing the Effects of Joint Disease
Bone and cartilage loss associated with aging can cause significant pain and deformity, leading to limitation of physical activity. Exosomes derived from embryonic stem cells have proven useful in regenerating articular cartilage. This means that they slow the progress of joint disease.
In one study, a single injection of exosomes into the knees of patients with osteoarthritis significantly improved clinical outcomes. Patients who received the treatments noted substantial relief from pain and faster functional recovery [R].
How Is This Different From Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell treatments involve the use of whole cells to replace faulty or aging ones. Exosomes are vesicles which have detached from cells with contents that could potentially influence the behavior of other cells.
Although exosomes can be derived from any cell type, the sources of clinically useful stem cells are limited to the developing embryo (embryonic stem cells) and bone marrow, adipose tissue and blood (adult stem cells).
The significant edge exosomal biotechnology may have over stem cell treatments is the minimal risk of rejection by the recipient’s body. Rather than replacing a person’s cells with foreign ones that the body may fail to accept, exosomes simply modify the functions of already present native cells.
Exosomes for Anti-Aging Summary
Despite the research into the biogenesis and functions of exosomes still being in its early stages, the beneficial applications could be widespread. If properly applied, these tiny vesicles could hold the key to enhanced health.
A number of longevity clinics now offer exosomal therapies. If you want to learn more about exosomal therapy, please check our directory for a list of providers.
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