Delivery of siRNA to the mouse brain by systemic injection of targeted exosomes

Delivery of siRNA to the mouse brain by systemic injection of targeted exosomes

Lydia Alvarez-Erviti, Yiqi Seow, HaiFang Yin, Corinne Betts, Samira Lakhal & Matthew J A Wood

Nature Biotechnology (2011) doi:10.1038/nbt.1807


To realize the therapeutic potential of RNA drugs, efficient, tissue-specific and nonimmunogenic delivery technologies must be developed. Here we show that exosomes—endogenous nano-vesicles that transport RNAs and proteins—can deliver short interfering (si)RNA to the brain in mice. To reduce immunogenicity, we used self-derived dendritic cells for exosome production. Targeting was achieved by engineering the dendritic cells to express Lamp2b, an exosomal membrane protein, fused to the neuron-specific RVG peptide. Purified exosomes were loaded with exogenous siRNA by electroporation. Intravenously injected RVG-targeted exosomes delivered GAPDH siRNA specifically to neurons, microglia, oligodendrocytes in the brain, resulting in a specific gene knockdown. Pre-exposure to RVG exosomes did not attenuate knockdown, and non-specific uptake in other tissues was not observed. The therapeutic potential of exosome-mediated siRNA delivery was demonstrated by the strong mRNA (60%) and protein (62%) knockdown of BACE1, a therapeutic target in Alzheimer’s disease, in wild-type mice.

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