Gene Expression to Determine Exosome Effects on Neural Cell Lines: Potential Treatments and Diagnostic Markers

Date of Award


Document Type




First Reader

Dr. Nathan Reyna

Second Reader

Dr. Blake Johnson

Third Reader

Dr. Mark McGraw


Exosomes are small membrane-bound vesicles containing cellular products such as mRNA, miRNA, and proteins. Recent studies have shown exosomes and their genetic materials to play a role in intercellular signaling, including differentiation and growth of neural cell lines. Exosomes were isolated from PC12 cells, a neural progenitor cell line taken from the rat adrenal medulla, and glioma (U87) cells which underwent treatments including exposure to tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and neural growth factor (NGF), which induces differentiation of PC12 cells. Exosomes collected from these different conditions were added back to untreated PC12 cells and morphological changes were documented.

In another experiment, exosomes isolated from glioma (U87) cells treated with either TNF-α or Interleukin 1-β (IC-1β) were added to untreated U87 cells. RNA was extracted from the treated cells and analyzed for changes in gene expression using iPathway guide by Advaita. Morphological results of the TNF-α treated PC12 cells and changes in gene expression in TNF-α treated U87 cells were compared. The morphological changes of the PC12 cells and the changes in gene expression of the U87 cells evidenced that the exosomes carried materials which induced both differentiation and apoptosis in the different cell lines. These links in morphological changes and changes in gene expression after treatment with the same exosomes serve as evidence that exosomes of a particular environment can be used as treatment vesicles to induce specific changes in gene expression in other cell types.

This document is currently not available here.