Selective enrichment of microRNAs in extracellular matrix vesicles produced by growth plate chondrocytes

Zhao Lin, Nicholas E. Rodriguez, Junjun Zhao, Allison N. Ramey, Sharon L. Hyzy, Barbara D. Boyan, Zvi Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Matrix vesicles (MVs) are membrane organelles found in the extracellular matrix of calcifying cells, which contain matrix processing enzymes and regulate the extracellular environment via action of these enzymes. It is unknown whether MVs are also exosomic mediators of cell-cell communication via transfer of RNA material, and specifically, microRNA (miRNA). We investigated the presence of RNA in MVs isolated from cultures of costochondral growth zone chondrocytes. Our results showed that the average yield of MV RNA was 1.93 ± 0.78 ng RNA/104 cells, which was approximately 0.1% of the parent cell's total RNA. MV RNA was well-protected from RNase by the lipid membrane and was highly enriched in small RNA molecules compared to cells. Moreover, coding and non-coding small RNAs in MVs were in proportions that differed from parent cells. Enrichment of specific miRNAs was consistently observed in all three miRNA detection platforms that we used, suggesting that miRNAs are selectively packaged into MVs. MV-enriched miRNAs were related to different signaling pathways associated with bone formation. This study suggests a significant role for MVs as "matrisomes" in cell-cell communication in cartilage and bone development via transfer of specific miRNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-55
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Bone formation
  • Cell membrane
  • Chondrocyte
  • Endochondral calcification
  • Exosomes
  • Matrix vesicles
  • MiRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology
  • Physiology


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