Spermatozoa, acts as an external cue and alters the cargo and production of the extracellular vesicles derived from oviductal epithelial cells in vitro

Extracellular Vesicles

The oviduct provides optimum physiological and biochemical milieu essential for successful fertilization, early embryo development and facilitates functional maturation of spermatozoa. A study has revealed that spermatozoa alters the gene expression in bovine oviductal epithelial cells (BOECs) remotely via bio-active particles, thus acting as a cue to the oviduct prior to their arrival. However, very little attention has been paid to the question of whether spermatozoa could alter the cargo of extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from BOECs. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the alterations in small non-coding RNAs in EVs cargo derived from BOECs when incubated with spermatozoa in contact and non-contact co-culture models. After 4 h of incubation the EVs were isolated from the conditioned media, followed by small non-coding sequencing of the BOEC derived EVs. Our results revealed that EVs from both co-culture models contained distinct cargo in form of miRNA, fragmented mRNA versus control. The pathway enrichment analysis revealed that EV miRNA from direct co-culture were involved in the biological processes associated with phagocytosis, macroautophagy, placenta development, cellular responses to TNF and FGF. The mRNA fragments also varied within the different groups and mapped to the exonic regions of the transcriptome providing vital insights regarding the changes in cellular transcriptome on the arrival of spermatozoa. The findings of this study suggest that spermatozoa, in contact as well as remotely, alter the EV cargo of female reproductive tract epithelial cells which might be playing an essential role in pre and post-fertilization events.

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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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