Differences in cord blood extracellular vesicle cargo in preterm and term births

Ramkumar Menon, Christopher Luke Dixon, Samir Cayne, Enkhtuya Radnaa, Carlos Salomon, Samantha Sheller-Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study determined the cord plasma-derived extracellular vesicle (exosomes; 30–160 nm particles) proteomic profile in patients who had spontaneous preterm birth (PTB) or preterm premature rupture of membranes (pPROM), compared to those who delivered at term regardless of labor status. Methods: This is a cross-sectional analysis of a retrospective cohort that quantified and determined the proteomic cargo content of exosomes present in cord blood plasma samples in PTB or pPROM, and normal term in labor (TL) or term not in labor (TNIL) pregnancies. Exosomes were isolated by differential centrifugation followed by size exclusion chromatography. Exosomes were characterized by nanoparticle tracking analysis (quantity and size) and markers (dot blots for exosome markers). The exosomal proteomic profile was identified by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Ingenuity pathway analysis determined canonical pathways and biofunctions associated with dysregulated proteins. Results: Cord plasma exosomes have similar quantity and exhibit both tetraspanin and ESCRT protein markers specific of exosomes regardless of the conditions. Proteomics analysis exhibited several similar markers as well as very unique markers in exosomes from each condition; however, bioinformatics analysis revealed a generalized and non-specific inflammatory condition represented in exosomes from different condition that is not indicative of any specific underlying biological functions indicative of an underlying pathology. Conclusions: Compared to maternal plasma and amniotic fluid exosomes, the value of cord plasma derived exosomes is limited. Quantity, character, and proteomic cargo contents in exosomes or the pathways and functions represented by differentially expressed proteins do not distinguish specific conditions regarding normal and abnormal parturition. The value of cord plasma exosome proteomic cargo has limited value as an indicator of an underlying physiology or as a biomarker of fetal well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13521
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • biomarker
  • extracellular vesicles
  • preterm birth
  • umbilical cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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