Extracellular Vesicles from Human Plasma Show a Distinctive Proteome and miRNome Profile in Patients with Severe Cutaneous Adverse Reactions

Chem Res Toxicol. 2021 Jul 19;34(7):1738-1748. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.1c00047. Epub 2021 Jun 18.


Cutaneous drug-induced reactions are immune-mediated responses that can lead to life-threatening diseases such as drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis, collectively known as severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCARs). Unfortunately, they cannot be predicted during drug development, and, at present, a prognostic biomarker is not available nor are validated in vitro assays for diagnosis. Thus, by using proteomic and microarray miRNA analysis, the cargo of extracellular vesicles obtained from SCARs patients was analyzed and correlated with the severity of the reaction. Confirmatory assays using Western blot and qRT-PCR were performed to validate findings, and bioinformatic tools were used to establish the correlation between protein and miRNAs expression between groups. The proteomic analysis showed an increase in the amount of pro-inflammatory proteins, von Willebrand factor, and C-reactive protein and a decrease in anti-inflammatory and protective proteins in the SCARs group compared with the control group. Additionally, histone protein H2A was enriched in DRESS patients. APO1 and SERPINA4 proteins, highly increased in the control group but absent in the SCARs group, are the target of several overexpressed miRNAs, suggesting that the regulation of these proteins might involve gene silencing and protein repressing mechanisms in the severe patients. According with previous reports showing its presence in plasma and T-cells, microRNA miR-18 was upregulated in extracellular vesicles obtained from the most severe patients. Determination of the unique cargo associated with different disease conditions will help to understand the pathophysiology of these complex reactions and might help to develop novel biomarkers for life-threatening iatrogenic cutaneous disease.