Extracellular vesicles (EVs) isolated from mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) contribute to recovery of damaged tissue. We have previously shown that porcine MSC-derived EVs transport mRNA and miRNA capable of modulating cellular pathways in recipient cells. To identify candidate factors that contribute to the therapeutic effects of porcine MSC-derived EVs, we characterized their protein cargo using proteomics. Porcine MSCs were cultured from abdominal fat, and EVs characterized for expression of typical MSC and EV markers. LC-MS/MS proteomic analysis was performed and proteins classified. Functional pathway analysis was performed and five candidate proteins were validated by western blot. Proteomics analysis identified 5,469 distinct proteins in MSCs and 4,937 in EVs. The average protein expression was higher in MSCs vs. EVs. Differential expression analysis revealed 128 proteins that are selectively enriched in EVs versus MSCs, whereas 563 proteins were excluded from EVs. Proteins enriched in EVs are linked to a broad range of biological functions, including angiogenesis, blood coagulation, apoptosis, extracellular matrix remodeling, and regulation of inflammation. Excluded are mostly nuclear proteins, like proteins involved in nucleotide binding and RNA splicing. EVs have a selectively-enriched protein cargo with a specific biological signature that MSCs may employ for intercellular communication to facilitate tissue repair.
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