Immune cell extracellular vesicles and their mitochondrial content decline with ageing.
Background: Although the mechanisms of action are not fully understood, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have emerged as key indicators and effectors of immune function. Characterizing circulating EVs associated with stem and immune cells across the lifespan of healthy individuals could aid an understanding of immunosenescence, a process of age-related decline of cells in both adaptive and innate immune systems. Results: Using high resolution multicolor flow cytometry, we identified three major subsets of EVs of varying sizes in healthy control (HC) plasma. Multiple plasma EVs associated with immune cells declined with ageing in HCs. In addition, we observed age-associated declines of respiring mitochondria cargo in EVs of several types of immune cells, suggesting that these parent cells may experience a decline in mitophagy or a mitochondrial dysfunction-induced immunosenescence. By contrast, the number of CD34+ hematopoietic stem cell-associated EVs were high and carried respiring mitochondria, which did not decline with age. Conclusion: As demonstrated here, multicolor flow cytometry simultaneously measures plasma EV size, surface markers and cargo that reflect biological processes of specific cell types. The distinct surface markers and cytokine cargo of plasma EVs suggest that they may carry different bio-messages and originate by different biogenesis pathways.
Zhang, X; Hubal, MJ; Kraus, VB
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