Document Type


Journal Title

Journal of Extracellular Vesicles

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Extracellular vesicles (EVs), which express a repertoire of cargo molecules (cf. proteins, microRNA, lipids, etc.), have been garnering a prominent role in the modulation of several cellular processes. Here, using both non-human primate and rodent model systems, we provide evidence that brain-derived EV (BDE) miRNA, miR-29a-3p (mir-29a), is significantly increased during chronic methamphetamine (MA) exposure. Further, miR-29a levels show significant increase both with drug-seeking and reinstatement in a rat MA self-administration model. We also show that EV-associated miR-29a is enriched in EV pool comprising of small EVs and exomeres and further plays a critical role in MA-induced inflammation and synaptodendritic damage. Furthermore, treatment with the anti-inflammatory drug ibudilast (AV411), which is known to reduce MA relapse, decreased the expression of miR-29a and subsequently attenuated inflammation and rescued synaptodendritic injury. Finally, using plasma from MUD subjects, we provide translational evidence that EV-miR29a could potentially serve as a biomarker to detect neuronal damage in humans diagnosed with MA use disorder (MUD). In summary, our work suggests that EV-associated miR-29a-3p plays a crucial role in MUD and might be used as a potential blood-based biomarker for detecting chronic inflammation and synaptic damage.