Senior Scientist, Preclinical Research Laboratory for Medicinal Products), Cardiology Institute, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Lithuania
Aiste Jekabsone is a senior scientist in the Laboratory of Preclinical Drug Investigation of the Institute of Cardiology, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU, Kaunas, Lithuania). She has MSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from Vytautas Magnus University and a PhD in Biomedical science from the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (2002), where she investigated cell death pathways in ischemic myocardium. As a Postdoc fellow at the University of Cambridge (UK), Biochemistry department, she worked on nitric oxide signaling pathways in stroke models and investigated the role of microglial cells in Alzheimer’s disease. She currently focuses on designing extracellular vesicle-based technologies for drug delivery and regeneration and organotypic in vitro models for drug efficacy – toxicity screening.
The Role of Extracellular Vesicles in Inflammatory Signal Transmission from
The Airway to the Brain During Viral Infections
Viral infections of the upper airways are the most common diseases affecting each individual. The infected cells produce extracellular vesicles (EVs) containing viral genetic material and inflammatory mediators. Small EVs such as exosomes remain stable in biofluids, penetrate well into the tissues, and easily cross biological barriers, including the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, they can transmit the inflammatory signal to the brain; however, the hypothesis has not yet been experimentally tested. The study aimed to determine whether virus mimicking sequence poly(I:C)-primed airway EVs enter the brain and, if yes, how they might affect the inflammatory status of the brain cells. Poly(I:C)-primed airway EVs entered the brain within an hour after intranasal delivery and localized primarily in microglial cells. The EVs internalized poly I:C molecules and caused inflammatory immunometabolich profile of microglial cells, including energy production switch from mitochondrial to glycolytic, generation of reactive oxygen species and inflammasome-related caspase-1 activation. The EVs significantly elevated the expression of inflammatory genes in cultured primary rat microglia, human microglial cells and the brain tissue of EV-treated mice. In conclusion, EVs from virus-infected airway cells might transmit viral particles and inflammatory signaling to the brain via microglial cells.