Altered level of plasma exosomes in patients with Gaucher disease

Eur J Med Genet. 2020 Nov;63(11):104038. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2020.104038. Epub 2020 Aug 18.


Mutations in the glucocerebrosidase gene (GBA) cause Gaucher disease (GD), the lysosomal storage disorder (LSD), and are the most common genetic risk factor of Parkinson's disease (PD). Lysosome functionality plays a critical role for secretion of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and their content. Here we compared EVs from the blood plasma of 8 GD patients and 8 controls in terms of amounts, size distribution, and composition of their protein cargo. EVs were isolated via sequential centrifugation and characterized by сryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), and dynamic light scattering (DLS). The presence of exosomal markers HSP70 and tetrasponins were analyzed by Western blot and flow cytometry. Protein profiling was performed by mass-spectrometry (shotgun analysis). Here, for the first time we reported an increased size and altered morphology in exosomes derived from blood plasma of GD patients. An increased size of plasma exosomes from GD patients compared to controls was demonstrated by cryo-EM and DLS (р<0.0001, p < 0.001, respectively) and confirmed by mode size detected by NTA (p < 0.02). Cryo-EM demonstrated an increased number of double and multilayer vesicles in plasma EVs from GD patients. We found that the EVs were enriched with the surface exosomal markers (CD9, СD63, CD81) and an exosome-associated protein HSP70 in case of the patients with the disease. Proteomic profiling of exosomal proteins did not reveal any proteins associated with PD pathogenesis. Thus, we showed that lysosomal dysfunction in GD patients lead to a striking alteration of plasma exosomes in size and morphology.

Keywords: Exosomes; GBA mutations; Gaucher disease; Lysosomes; Proteomics.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Dynamic Light Scattering
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Exosomes / ultrastructure
  • Gaucher Disease / blood*
  • Gaucher Disease / metabolism
  • Gaucher Disease / pathology
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteome / genetics
  • Proteome / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Proteome