Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)–derived exosome plays a central role in the cell-free therapeutics involving MSCs and the contents can be customized under disease-associated microenvironments. However, optimal MSC-preconditioning to enhance its therapeutic potential is largely unknown. Here, we show that preconditioning of gingival tissue-derived MSCs (GMSCs) with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) is ideal for the treatment of periodontitis. TNF-α stimulation not only increased the amount of exosome secreted from GMSCs, but also enhanced the exosomal expression of CD73, thereby inducing anti-inflammatory M2 macrophage polarization. The effect of GMSC-derived exosomes on inflammatory bone loss were examined by ligature-induced periodontitis model in mice. Local injection of GMSC-derived exosomes significantly reduced periodontal bone resorption and the number of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-positive osteoclasts, and these effects were further enhanced by preconditioning of GMSCs with TNF-α. Thus, GMSC-derived exosomes also exhibited anti-osteoclastogenic activity. Receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) expression was regulated by Wnt5a in periodontal ligament cells (PDLCs), and exosomal miR-1260b was found to target Wnt5a-mediated RANKL pathway and inhibit its osteoclastogenic activity. These results indicate that significant ability of the TNF-α-preconditioned GMSC-derived exosomes to regulate inflammation and osteoclastogenesis paves the way for establishment of a therapeutic approach for periodontitis.
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