Are Lyophilized Exosomes Equal to Non-Lyophilized Exosomes?
With the growing popularity of exosomes in regenerative aesthetics, clinicians have many questions about the differences between the different products being promoted. Among the most frequently asked questions that clinicians have regarding exosomes is if lyophilized exosomes are equal to non-lyophilized. The answer is unequivocally, NO!
What is Lyophilization?
Lyophilization is a drying process in which water is removed from a water-containing sample through sublimation after the sample is frozen and placed under a vacuum. Lyophilization is used for long-term preservation of water-containing substances such as the cells or tissues of plants or animal cells as well as foods.
How Does Lyophilization Affect Exosomes?
When water-containing substances are frozen, freeze-concentration occurs in which water molecules form ice crystals during freezing, resulting in uneven diffusion of solutes or contaminants in the water-containing substances. To prevent freeze-concentration in a cell, a method of adding a cryoprotectant such as dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), glycerol, acetamide, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, or the like is used.
The cryoprotectant increases glass transition temperature, thus preventing tissue breakdown caused by ice crystals formed during freezing and increasing the stability of the tissue.
More Drawbacks to Lyophilization
Prolonged time for handling and processing
Unsuitable for volatile compounds
Sterile diluent is required for reconstitution
More manipulations with increased risk of errors and contaminations
Many freeze cycles proven to damage exosomes even with added chemicals
Often made from a very poor source of MSCs, adult adipose
Only have a life span of less than one hour whereas thawed purified exosomes are valid for 6 to 12 hours
No lyophilized exosomes market scientific test results available showing the reconstituted exosomes are still intact with their initial payload of mRNA and miRNA, nor about their efficacy.
The bilipid layer of a cell is extremely sensitive, and lyophilization breaks that layer. While lyophilization stabilizes at room temperature, when it is reconstituted, it lacks the chemical backbone needed to stabilize. The addition of chemicals also means it is not a pure product. Beyond the inefficiencies and disruptions to your clinic’s workflow, there is no evidence that lyophilized exosomes possess the same payload and efficacy as non-lyophilized exosomes.
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