Toward a human brain extracellular vesicle atlas

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are released from different cell types in the central nervous system (CNS) and play roles in regulating physiological and pathological functions. Although brain-derived EVs (bdEVs) have been successfully collected from brain tissue, there is not yet a “bdEV Atlas” of EVs from different brain regions. To address this gap, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine separated EVs from eight anatomical brain regions of a single individual and subsequently characterized them by count, size, morphology, and protein and RNA content. The greatest particle yield was from cerebellum, while the fewest particles were recovered from the orbitofrontal, postcentral gyrus, and thalamus regions. EV surface phenotyping indicated that CD81 and CD9 were more abundant than CD63 in all regions. Cell-enriched surface markers varied between brain regions. For example, putative neuronal markers NCAM, CD271, and NRCAM were more abundant in medulla, cerebellum, and occipital regions, respectively. These findings, while restricted to tissues from a single individual, suggest that additional studies are warranted to provide more insight into the links between EV heterogeneity and function in the CNS.

Workflow for brain-derived EV (bdEV) enrichment and characterization from different brain regions. bdEVs from 8 brain regions were separated by collagenase digestion, differential centrifugation, and size exclusion chromatography (SEC). After separation, bdEVs were characterized by particle count, imaging, protein phenotyping and small RNA sequencing.

Huang Y, Arab T, Russell AE et al. (2023) Toward a human brain extracellular vesicle atlas: Characteristics of extracellular vesicles from different brain regions, including small RNA and protein profiles. Int Med [Epub ahead of print]. [article]

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