Proteomic analysis of microvesicles from plasma of healthy donors reveals high individual variability

J Proteomics. 2012 Jun 27;75(12):3574-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2012.03.054. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


Healthy blood plasma is required for several therapeutic procedures. To maximize successful therapeutic outcomes it is critical to control the quality of blood plasma. Clearly initiatives to improve the safety of blood transfusions will have a high economical and social impact. A detailed knowledge of the composition of healthy blood plasma is essential to facilitate such improvements. Apart from free proteins, lipids and metabolites, blood plasma also contains cell-derived microvesicles, including exosomes and microparticles from several different cellular origins. In this study, we have purified microvesicles smaller than 220nm from plasma of healthy donors and performed proteomic, ultra-structural, biochemical and functional analyses. We have detected 161 microvesicle-associated proteins, including many associated with the complement and coagulation signal-transduction cascades. Several proteases and protease inhibitors associated with acute phase responses were present, indicating that these microvesicles may be involved in these processes. There was a remarkably high variability in the protein content of plasma from different donors. In addition, we report that this variability could be relevant for their interaction with cellular systems. This work provides valuable information on plasma microvesicles and a foundation to understand microvesicle biology and clinical implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Donors*
  • Blood Proteins / analysis*
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Peptide Mapping / methods*
  • Plasma / chemistry*
  • Proteome / analysis
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Blood Proteins
  • Proteome