The Neurotoxicity of Vesicles Secreted by ALS Patient Myotubes Is Specific to Exosome-Like and Not Larger Subtypes

Ekene Anakor, Vanessa Milla, Owen Connolly, Cecile Martinat, Pierre Francois Pradat, Julie Dumonceaux, William Duddy, Stephanie Duguez

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Extracellular vesicles can mediate communication between tissues, affecting the physiological conditions of recipient cells. They are increasingly investigated in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the most common form of Motor Neurone Disease, as transporters of misfolded proteins including SOD1, FUS, TDP43, or other neurotoxic elements, such as the dipeptide repeats resulting from C9orf72 expansions. EVs are classified based on their biogenesis and size and can be separated by differential centrifugation. They include exosomes, released by the fusion of multivesicular bodies with the plasma membrane, and ectosomes, also known as microvesicles or microparticles, resulting from budding or pinching of the plasma membrane. In the current study, EVs were obtained from the myotube cell culture medium of ALS patients or healthy controls. EVs of two different sizes, separating at 20,000 or 100,000 g, were then compared in terms of their effects on recipient motor neurons, astrocytes, and myotubes. Compared to untreated cells, the smaller, exosome-like vesicles of ALS patients reduced the survival of motor neurons by 31% and of myotubes by 18%, decreased neurite length and branching, and increased the proportion of stellate astrocytes, whereas neither those of healthy subjects, nor larger EVs of ALS or healthy subjects, had such effects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number845
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by Target ALS, grant ID: ViTAL (PI: S.D.), ARsLA (TEAM consortium, PI: S Duguez), and by European Union Regional Development Fund (ERDF) EU Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for N. Ireland, Northern Ireland Public Health Agency (HSC R&D) & Ulster University (PI: A Bjourson)., E.A. and V.M. were recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Scholarship. O.C. was a recipient of was recipient of Ph.D DELL fellowship. The APC was funded by Vice-Chancellor’s Research Scholarship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • exosomes
  • ectosomes
  • cell–cell communication
  • motor neurone diseases
  • Motor neurone diseases
  • Exosomes
  • Ectosomes
  • Cell–cell communication


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