Cells secrete extracellular vesicles (EVs) carrying cell-of-origin markers to communicate with surrounding cells. EVs regulate physiological processes ranging from intercellular signaling to waste management. However, when senescent cells (SnCs) secrete EVs, the EVs, which are newly regarded as senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) factors, can evoke inflammation, senescence induction, and metabolic disorders in neighboring cells. Unlike other soluble SASP factors, the biophysical properties of EVs, including small EVs (sEVs), derived from SnCs have not yet been investigated. In this study, sEVs were extracted from a human IMR90 lung fibroblast in vitro senescence model. Their biomechanical properties were mapped using atomic force microscopy-based quantitative nanomechanical techniques, surface potential microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy. The surfaces of sEVs derived from SnCs are slightly stiffer but their cores are softer than those of sEVs secreted from non-senescent cells (non-SnCs). This inversely proportional relationship between deformation and stiffness, attributed to a decrease in the concentration of genetic and protein materials inside the vesicles and the adsorption of positively charged SASP factors onto the vesicle surfaces, respectively, was found to be a peculiar characteristic of SnC-derived sEVs. Our results demonstrate that the biomechanical properties of SnC-derived sEVs differ from those of non-SnC-derived sEVs and provide insight into the mechanisms underlying their formation and composition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)