Urinary extracellular vesicles as a source of protein‐based biomarkers in feline chronic kidney disease and hypertension

Extracellular Vesicles

OBJECTIVES: To validate a methodology for isolating feline urinary extracellular vesicles and characterise the urinary extracellular vesicle population and proteome in cats with normal renal function and cats with normotensive or hypertensive chronic kidney disease. METHODS: Feline urinary extracellular vesicles were isolated using three different methods (precipitation alone, precipitation followed by size exclusion chromatography and ultrafiltration followed by size exclusion chromatography, which were compared via transmission electron microscopy and nanoparticle tracking analysis. Cats with normal renal function (n=9), normotensive chronic kidney disease (n=10) and hypertensive chronic kidney disease (n=9) were identified and urinary extracellular vesicles isolated from patient urine samples via ultrafiltration followed by size exclusion chromatography. Extracellular vesicle size and concentration were determined using nanoparticle tracking analysis, and subsequently underwent proteomic analysis using liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry to identify differences in protein expression between categories. RESULTS: Urinary extracellular vesicle preparations contained particles of the expected size and morphology, and those obtained by ultrafiltration + size exclusion chromatography had a significantly higher purity (highest particle: protein ratio). The urinary extracellular vesicle proteomes contained extracellular vesicle markers and proteins originating from all nephron segments. Urinary extracellular vesicle concentration and size were unaffected by renal disease or hypertension. There were no differentially expressed proteins detected when comparing urinary extracellular vesicles derived from cats in the healthy category with the combined chronic kidney disease category, but five differentially expressed proteins were identified between the normotensive chronic kidney disease and hypertensive chronic kidney disease categories. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Feline urinary extracellular vesicles can be successfully isolated from stored urine samples. Differentially expressed urinary extracellular vesicle proteins were discovered in cats with hypertensive chronic kidney disease, and warrant further investigation into their utility as biomarkers or therapeutic targets.

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