Transferrin receptor expression in serum exosomes as a marker of regenerative anaemia in the horse

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Abstract

Reasons for performing study:

Evaluation of erythrocyte regeneration in horses is challenging, as they do not release reticulocytes into the peripheral blood. This study investigated transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1) expression in exosomes as a noninvasive method of characterising the regenerative response in anaemic horses.

Objectives:

To quantify TfR1 in ultraprecipitate of serum in horses before and after phlebotomy-induced anaemia, and to identify exosomes as the source of TfR1. The hypothesis was that serum exosomal TfR1 expression would increase during a regenerative response.

Study design:

Experimental model of anaemia.

Methods:

Six horses were phlebotomised to achieve a 25% decrease in packed cell volume. Transferrin receptor 1 quantity in exosomes was determined by western blot and relative densitometry before and after phlebotomy. The size and density of the TfR1-associated particles were confirmed by transmission electron microscopy and density gradient centrifugation, respectively.

Results:

Regenerative anaemia was confirmed by decreased packed cell volumes and decreased myeloid:erythroid ratios in the bone marrow. In all 6 horses, TfR1 expression increased between Days 7 and 10. Mean TfR1 levels peaked on Day 10 and at 3-fold higher than levels on Day 0. Appropriately sized particles were evident on transmission electron microscopy and sucrose density gradient fractions expected to contain exosomes also contained TfR1.

Conclusions:

These data indicate that TfR1 expression in serum exosomes may provide a marker for regeneration in anaemic horses.

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