Obesity-associated metabolic dysfunctions are linked to dysregulated production of adipokines. Accumulating evidence suggests a role for fat-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) in obesity-metabolic disturbances. Since EVs convey numerous proteins, Angers University researchers aimed to evaluate their contribution in adipokine secretion.
The researchers used plasma collected from metabolic syndrome patients to isolate EV subtypes, namely microvesicles (MVs) and exosomes (EXOs). Numerous soluble factor concentrations were measured successively on total, MV- and EXO-depleted plasma by multiplexed immunoassays.
Circulating MVs and EXOs were significantly increased with BMI, supporting a role of EVs as metabolic relays in obesity. Obesity was associated with dysregulated soluble factor production. Sequential depletion of plasma MVs and EXOs did not modify plasma levels of these molecules, with the exception of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor (MIF). Half of plasma MIF circulated within MVs, and this MV secretory pathway was conserved over different MIF-producing cells. Although MV-associated MIF triggered rapid ERK1/2 activation in macrophages, these functional MV-MIF effects specifically relied on MIF tautomerase activity.
These results emphasize the importance of reconsidering MIF-metabolic actions with regard to its MV-associated form and opening new EV-based strategies for therapeutic MIF approaches.