Research Papers:

Characterization of mouse serum exosomal small RNA content: The origins and their roles in modulating inflammatory response

Xin Zhou, Zinan Jiao, Juling Ji, Shuyuan Li, Xiaodi Huang, Xiaoshuang Lu, Heng Zhao, Jingwen Peng, Xinya Chen, Qiuhong Ji and Yuhua Ji _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:42712-42727. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17448

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Xin Zhou1,*, Zinan Jiao1,*, Juling Ji2,*, Shuyuan Li1, Xiaodi Huang1, Xiaoshuang Lu1, Heng Zhao3, Jingwen Peng4, Xinya Chen5, Qiuhong Ji5 and Yuhua Ji1,4

1Institute of Immunology, College of Life Science and Technology, Jinan University, Guangdong, China

2Department of Pathology, Medical School of Nantong University, Nantong, China

3Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA

4Key Laboratory of Neuroregeneration of Jiangsu and Ministry of Education, Nantong University, Nantong, China

5Department of Neurology, Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, Nantong, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Yuhua Ji, email: [email protected]

Qiuhong Ji, email: [email protected]

Keywords: mouse serum exosomes, small RNA sequence, miRNA, origins, inflammation

Received: February 13, 2017     Accepted: April 12, 2017     Published: April 27, 2017


In the last decade, although studies on exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) derived from serum and other body fluids have increased dramatically; the contents and biological significance of serum exosomes under normal conditions remain unclear. In the present study, we profiled the small RNA content of mouse serum exosomes (mSEs) using small RNAseq and found that fragments of transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and miRNAs were the two predominant exosomal RNA species, accounting for approximately 60% and 10% of mapped reads, respectively. Moreover, 466 known and 5 novel miRNAs were identified from two independent experiments, among which the five most abundant miRNAs (miR-486a-5p, miR-22-3p, miR-16-5p, miR-10b-5p and miR-27b-3p) accounted for approximately 60% of all the aligned miRNA sequences. As inferred from the identities of the well known cell- or tissue-specific miRNAs, mSEs were primarily released by RBCs, liver and intestinal cells. Bioinformatics analysis revealed over half of the top 20 miRNAs by abundance were involved in inflammatory responses and further in vitro experiments demonstrated that mSEs potently primed macrophages towards the M2 phenotype. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to profile small RNAs from mSEs. In addition to providing a reference for future biomarker studies and extrapolating their origins, our data also suggest the roles of mSEs in maintaining internal homeostasis under normal conditions.

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