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Background and Purpose: There is growing interest in stem cell-derived exosomes for their therapeutic and regenerative benefits given their manufacturing and regulatory advantages over cell-based therapies. As existing fibrosis impedes the viability and efficacy of stem cell/exosome-based strategies for treating chronic diseases, here we tested the effects of the anti-fibrotic drug, serelaxin, on the therapeutic efficacy of human amnion epithelial cell (AEC)-derived exosomes in experimental lung disease. Experimental Approach: Female Balb/c mice were subjected to either the 9.5-week model of ovalbumin and naphthalene (OVA/NA)-induced chronic allergic airway disease (AAD) or 3-week model of bleomycin (BLM)-induced pulmonary fibrosis; then administered increasing concentrations of AEC-exosomes (5 μg or 25μg), with or without serelaxin (0.5mg/kg/day) for 7-days. 1x10 6 AECs co-administered with serelaxin over the corresponding time-period were included for comparison in both models, as was pirfenidone-treatment of the BLM model. Control groups received saline/corn oil or saline, respectively. Key Results: Both experimental models presented with significant tissue inflammation, remodelling, fibrosis and airway/lung dysfunction at the time-points studied. While AEC-exosome (5 μg or 25μg)-administration alone demonstrated some benefits in each model, serelaxin was required for AEC-exosomes (25μg) to rapidly normalise chronic AAD-induced airway fibrosis and airway reactivity, and BLM-induced lung inflammation, epithelial damage and subepithelial/basement membrane fibrosis. Combining serelaxin with AEC-exosomes (25μg) also demonstrated broader protection compared to co-administration of serelaxin with 1x10 6 AECs or pirfenidone. Conclusions and Implications: Serelaxin enhanced the therapeutic efficacy of AEC-exosomes in treating basement membrane-induced fibrosis and related airway dysfunction.
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