This study analyzed microvesicles and exosomes, called as extracellular vesicles (EVs) excreted in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients with cerebral or gestational toxoplasmosis.
Clinical samples from 83 individuals were divided into four groups. Group I, 20 sera from healthy individuals and pregnant women (seronegative for toxoplasmosis); group II, 21 sera from seropositive patients for toxoplasmosis (cerebral or gestational forms); group III, 26 CSF samples from patients with cerebral toxoplasmosis/HIV co-infection (CT/HIV) (seropositive for toxoplasmosis); and group IV, 16 CSF samples from seronegative patients for toxoplasmosis, but with HIV infection and other opportunistic infections (OI/HIV). Serum and CSF samples were ultracentrifuged to recover EVs. Next, vesicle size and concentration were characterized by Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA).
Concentrations of serum-derived EVs from toxoplasmosis patients (mean: 2.4 x 1010 EVs/mL) were statically higher than of non-infected individuals (mean: 5.9 x 109 EVs/mL). Concentrations of CSF-derived EVs were almost similar in both groups. CT/HIV (mean: 2.9 x 109 EVs/mL) and OI/HIV (mean: 4.8 x 109 EVs/mL). Analyses by NTA confirmed that CSF-derived EVs and serum-derived EVs had size and shape similar to microvesicles and exosomes. The mean size of EVs was similar in serum and CSF. Thus, the concentration, and not size was able distinguish patients with toxoplasmosis than healthy individuals. Presence of exosomes was also confirmed by transmission electron microscopy and evidence of tetraspanins CD63 and CD9 in immunoblotting. Relative expressions of miR-146a-5p, miR-155-5p, miR-21-5p, miR-29c-3p and miR-125b-5p were estimated in exosomal miRNA extracted of EVs. Serum-derived EVs from group II (cerebral and gestational toxoplasmosis) up-expressed miR-125b-5p and miR-146a-5p. CSF-derived EVs from CT/HIV patients) up-expressed miR-155-5p and miR-21-5p and were unable to express miR-29c-3p.
These data suggest the participation of EVs and exosomal miRNAs in unbalance of immune response as elevation of TNF-α, IL-6; and downregulation of IFN-γ in cerebral and gestational forms of toxoplasmosis.