Women are at a significantly higher risk of developing osteoarthritis (OA) compared to males. The pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (OA) in women is poorly understood. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been shown to play an essential role in numerous signaling processes during the pathogenesis of age-related diseases via paracrine signaling. Molecular profiling of the synovial fluid-derived EVs cargo in women may help in the discovery of novel biomarkers and therapeutics for the treatment of OA in women. Previously, we reported that synovial fluid-derived EV miRNA cargo differs in a sex-specific manner. This study aims to characterize synovial fluid-derived EV protein cargo in OA patients. Our data showed sex-specific EVs protein content in OA. We found haptoglobin, orosomucoid, and ceruloplasmin significantly up-regulated, whereas apolipoprotein down-regulated in female OA EVs. In males, we discovered β-2-glycoprotein, and complement component 5 proteins significantly up-regulated and Spt-Ada-Gcn5 acetyltransferase (SAGA)-associated factor 29 down-regulated in male OA EVs. Database for Annotation, Visualization, and Integrated Discovery (DAVID) and QuickGO analysis revealed OA-specific protein involvement in several biological, molecular, and cellular pathways, specifically in inflammatory processes. In conclusion, synovial fluid EV protein content is altered in a sex-specific manner with OA, explaining the increased prevalence and severity of OA in women.
Keywords: cartilage degeneration; exosomes; gender; mass spectrometry.