Myocardial infarction (MI) is a cardiovascular disease that poses a serious threat to human health. Uncontrolled and excessive cardiac fibrosis after MI has been recognized as a primary contributor to mortality by heart failure. Thus, prevention of fibrosis or alleviation of fibrosis progression is important for cardiac repair. To this end, a biocompatible microneedle (MN) patch based on gelatin is fabricated to load exosomes containing microRNA-29b (miR-29b) mimics with antifibrotic activity to prevent excessive cardiac fibrosis after MI. Exosomes are isolated from human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells and loaded with miR-29b mimics via electroporation, which can be internalized effectively in cardiac fibroblasts to upregulate the expression of miR-29b and downregulate the expression of fibrosis-related proteins. After being implanted in the infarcted heart of a mouse MI model, the MN patch can increase the retention of loaded exosomes in the infarcted myocardium, leading to alleviation of inflammation, reduction of the infarct size, inhibition of fibrosis, and improvement of cardiac function. This design explored the MN patch as a suitable platform to deliver exosomes containing antifibrotic biomolecules locally for the prevention of cardiac fibrosis, showing the potential for MI treatment in clinical applications.
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