Nebulization of extracellular vesicles: A promising small RNA delivery approach for lung diseases

Yohan Han, Yin Zhu, Hannah A. Youngblood, Sultan Almuntashiri, Timothy W. Jones, Xiaoyun Wang, Yutao Liu, Payaningal R. Somanath, Duo Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) are a group of cell-secreted nanovesicles with a diameter up to 200 nm. A growing number of studies have indicated that sEVs can reflect the pathogenesis of human diseases and mediate intercellular communications. Recently, sEV research has drastically increased due to their drug delivery property. However, a comprehensive method of delivering exogenous small RNAs-loaded sEVs through nebulization has not been reported. The methodology is complicated by uncertainty regarding the integrity of sEVs after nebulization, the delivery efficiency of aerosolized sEVs, their deposition in the lungs/cells, etc. This study demonstrates that sEVs can be delivered to murine lungs through a vibrating mesh nebulizer (VMN). In vivo sEV tracking indicated that inhaled sEVs were distributed exclusively in the lung and localized primarily in lung macrophages and airway epithelial cells. Additionally, sEVs loaded with small RNAs were successfully delivered into the lungs. The administration of siMyd88-loaded sEVs through inhalation reduced lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced lung injury in mice, supporting an application of this nebulization methodology to deliver functional small RNAs. Collectively, our study proposes a novel method of sEVs-mediated small RNA delivery into the murine lung through nebulization and presents a potential sEV-based therapeutic strategy for human lung diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-569
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Acute lung injury
  • Exosome
  • Inflammation
  • Nebulizer
  • miRNA
  • siRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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