Molecular and functional profiling of apical versus basolateral small extracellular vesicles derived from primary human proximal tubular epithelial cells under inflammatory conditions

Extracellular Vesicles

Proximal tubular epithelial cells (PTEC) are central players in inflammatory kidney diseases. However, the complex signalling mechanism/s via which polarized PTEC mediate disease progression are poorly understood. Small extracellular vesicles (sEV), including exosomes, are recognized as fundamental components of cellular communication and signalling courtesy of their molecular cargo (lipids, microRNA, proteins). In this study, we examined the molecular content and function of sEV secreted from the apical versus basolateral surfaces of polarized human primary PTEC under inflammatory diseased conditions. PTEC were cultured under normal and inflammatory conditions on Transwell inserts to enable separate collection and isolation of apical/basolateral sEV. Significantly increased numbers of apical and basolateral sEV were secreted under inflammatory conditions compared with equivalent normal conditions. Multi-omics analysis revealed distinct molecular profiles (lipids, microRNA, proteins) between inflammatory and normal conditions for both apical and basolateral sEV. Biological pathway analyses of significantly differentially expressed molecules associated apical inflammatory sEV with processes of cell survival and immunological disease, while basolateral inflammatory sEV were linked to pathways of immune cell trafficking and cell-to-cell signalling. In line with this mechanistic concept, functional assays demonstrated significantly increased production of chemokines (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, interleukin-8) and immuno-regulatory cytokine interleukin-10 by peripheral blood mononuclear cells activated with basolateral sEV derived from inflammatory PTEC. We propose that the distinct molecular composition of sEV released from the apical versus basolateral membranes of human inflammatory PTEC may reflect specialized functional roles, with basolateral-derived sEV pivotal in modulating tubulointerstitial inflammatory responses observed in many immune-mediated kidney diseases. These findings provide a rationale to further evaluate these sEV-mediated inflammatory pathways as targets for biomarker and therapeutic development.

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Recent Publications

Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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