Multimodal transfer of MDR by exosomes in human osteosarcoma

Elena Torreggiani, Laura Roncuzzi, Francesca Perut, Nicoletta Zini, Nicola Baldini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exosomes are extracellular vesicles released by both normal and tumour cells which are involved in a new intercellular communication pathway by delivering cargo (e.g., proteins, microRNAs, mRNAs) to recipient cells. Tumour-derived exosomes have been shown to play critical roles in different stages of tumour growth and progression. In this study, we investigated the potential role of exosomes to transfer the multidrug resistance (MDR) phenotype in human osteosarcoma cells. Exosomes were isolated by differential centrifugation of culture media from multidrug resistant human osteosarcoma MG-63DXR30 (Exo/DXR) and MG-63 parental cells (Exo/S). Exosome purity was examined by transmission electron microscopy and confirmed by immunoblot analysis for the expression of specific exosomal markers. Our data showed that exosomes derived from doxorubicin-resistant osteosarcoma cells could be taken up into secondary cells and induce a doxorubicin-resistant phenotype. The incubation of osteosarcoma cells with Exo/DXR decreased the sensitivity of parental cells to doxorubicin, while exposure with Exo/S was ineffective. In addition, we demonstrated that Exo/DXR expressed higher levels of MDR-1 mRNA and P-glycoprotein compared to Exo/S (p=0.03). Interestingly, both MDR-1 mRNA and P-gp increased in MG-63 cells after incubation with Exo/DXR, suggesting this as the main mechanism of exosome-mediated transfer of drug resistance. Our findings suggest that multidrug resistant osteosarcoma cells are able to spread their ability to resist the effects of doxorubicin treatment on sensitive cells by transferring exosomes carrying MDR-1 mRNA and its product P-glycoprotein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Doxorubicin
  • Drug-resistance
  • Exosomes
  • Osteosarcoma
  • P-glycoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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